Half of this middle concert worked well enough, thanks to two brackets before the intervals directed by Gergely Madaras. Budapest-born, he conducted three Hungarian Dances by Brahms, which were packed with personality and an idiosyncratic approach to tempo.
The Bowl acoustics are fitful at any time, but on Wednesday both ends of the spectrum travelled relentlessly: with glittering clarity in top treble notes and an occasional bass boom that threatened to overwhelm in the F Major Dance No. 3.
Soloist for Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Daniel de Borah made a forthright attack on that work’s delicately-proposed poetry and quick-moving bombast; a test in this open-air context. De Borah maintained the large audience’s interest through the meandering slow sections, capped by a vehement rendition of the bravura final pages. This music asks for absolute precision and, unfortunately, de Borah experienced some moments of discomfort. Still, the audience gave his final virtuosic coruscations a generous reception.
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