Daniel Müller Schott and the RTÉ  National Symphony Orchestra at the National Concert Hall, October 10th 2014

Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor, probably the greatest concerto for the instrument, opens the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s Friday night concert. The soloist is the brilliant Bavarian cellist Daniel Müller Schott. Schott’s tone is strikingly unusual, a sound with daring extremes of vibrato and distinct parallels to the woodier viola da gamba. Some of his most beautiful moments come from well-judged expressive intonation, producing grating dissonances that would be beyond the imagination of most of his competitors. The orchestra sound good in the concerto, but the soloist would probably feel safer if there were fewer ensemble problems. In the final bars of the work all sense of tuning seems to collapse in the upper strings, but this is a momentary lapse. Alan Buribayev never seems quite as comfortable conducting Germanic music as Russian, and the piece doesn’t hang together as well as in top interpretations (including the same orchestra under Gerhard Markson), but the soloist’s sound and personality make this a performance worth hearing.

After the interval, Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn is well played, with the final two variations standing out by virtue of their exciting character, and dynamic interpretation by the orchestra. Buribayev redeems any earlier doubts by inspiring a thrilling performance of Don Juan. Despite this work’s notorious difficulties, the orchestra sounds best here, somehow reading the conductor’s explosive flailings and translating them into a finessed, luxurious reading of this magnificent work. The violins sound terrific here, producing a velvet texture worthy of any of the major European orchestras.



Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191

Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a

Richard Strauss: Don Juan, Op. 20