Yesterday afternoon's concert by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony reflected the precision and responsiveness to be expected of an ensemble whose history goes back to the early days of broadcasting and whose conductors have included Furtwangler, Bohm, Knappertsbusch and Stokowski. Since 1974 its music director has been Eliahu Inbal, an Israeli musician now in his 40s, whose considerable talents have taken him around the world.
Inbal is a highly competent and confident conductor whose podium manner is all business. His close rapport with the orchestra, particularly evident in yesterday's performance of Dvorak's 8th Symphony, enables him to shape extremely fine dynamic shadings and subtle melodic contours. Coupled with his exacting demands for sharp ensemble playing is a capacity to draw exceptionally warm and flexible playing from his musicians.
Inexplicably, the performance of the opening work, three dances from Henze's ballet "Undine," came across as badly balanced and lacking in focus. The fault may be in the music, which seems to need visual aids.
Pianist Ruth Laredo joined the orchestra in Beethoven's 2nd Piano Concerto for sensitive exchanges of a character close to chamber music. Though she is not a powerful talent, her playing is infused with intelligence and feeling.