BEATING THE VIOLIN
WHEN Leopold Auer, distinguished Russian violinist of the last century, was offered the first performance of Tchaikovslsy'a Violin Concerto, he declined, -saying the work was "unplayable". When it was eventually played, two years later, Hanslick commented: "The violin is no longer played; it is beaten black and blue."
At thc Promenade Concert in the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday (London Symphony Orchestra, conductor Basil Cameron), soloist Ralph Holmes showed what a feat it is to play this Concerto. From his first entry he made immediate appeal. thrusting the orchestra into the background while he enfolded some of Tchaikovsky's loveliest ideas. He never lost his grip. Almost arrogantly he pushed back the physical boundaries of his instrument, and the finale came across unmistakably as a tour de force of virtuoso writing. Benjamin Britten's "Canadian Carnival", written for full orchestra towards the end of 1939 as a rhapsody on French Canadian folk-tunes. fascinated with imaginative orchestral colour.
Kaleidoscopic colour changes, evoking places and sentiments, came across wondrously, along with some flamenco-style passages, in Falla's "Nights in the Gardens of Spain", which followed.
Ravel's exotic "Bolero", with its Spanish inn setting and tensionbuilding picture of a lone Spanish dancer egging ori more to dance until the stage is alive with swirling bodies. brought the concert ie a climax that just had to he en