Spontaneous leadership, exceptional sensitivity as well as insight in abundance.

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Mendelssohn Symphony no.3

Conrad van Alphen has the knack to surprise with fresh interpretations of the standard repertoire and making those works speak with a voice reaching their core with both a spiritual and physical dimension. In works by Mendelssohn and Schumann there was spontaneous leadership, often exceptional sensitivity as well as insight in abundance.

The JPO, an orchestra who in recent years had to work through a traumatic past, is securely on a healing path when nurtured by a conductor of this stature.

In the Mendellsohns Symphony No.3 in A minor, Opus 56 – Scottish the orchestra thrived in a naturally paced performance that was never pressed too hard. This work, arguably Mendelssohn’s greatest symphony, does only come off well when a conductor sticks to the basic tempos as indicated in the score.

This Van Alphen did throughout his reading of it. In the introduction the mood was at once positive and purposeful, and the music moved forward with a strong cumulative feeling. In the Allegro proper, the un poco agitato was faithfully observed. Throughout the performance there was precise attack as well as quite marked, but natural sounding fluctuations of tempo.

After the firmly characterised middle movements, with an Adagio which was adorned by a most tender, lovingly shaped phrasing, it was especially in the handling of the coda, marked Allegro maestoso assai, where not a trace of Victorian pompousness could be found, but rather a glorious, jubilant exultation.