With concertmaster Alexander Janiczek leading the way during the first two programs, it was clear that developments were continuing. The expressive power Janiczek exuded in his violin playing gave a tremendous boost to the ensemble playing. The ferocity with which the bows were laid on the strings and the sharply profiled rhythm gave the Third Symphony, during the second concert in the cycle, the heroic and, above all, the revolutionary feeling that Beethoven put into his notes. I don't recall the orchestra in previous performances penetrating so deeply into Beethoven's emotionality. The famous second movement, the funeral march, sounded surprisingly lyrical and not dramatically measured as is often heard.
'I don't remember the orchestra in previous performances penetrating so deeply into Beethoven's emotionality.'
The Eroica was preceded by an equally famous piece, the Piano Concerto No. 5. Although Jonathan Darlington was announced as conductor in the program booklet, this concert section was also played without a conductor. Concertmaster Janiczek and pianist Alexander Melnikov propelled the performance passionately, with broad arm waving. Although the orchestra was not particularly large with 28 strings, the balance proved to favor the piano soloist. Melnikov played on a newly built copy of an 1826 Conrad Graf grand piano, which proved no match for the orchestra's powerful sound. Moreover, such a historic grand piano is too small in sound for a hall like the Concertgebouw. In the second movement, for example, the virtuoso counterplay of the grand piano against the leading melody in the orchestra disappeared.