The Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra is well known, particularly through its associations with Sir Roger Norrington and their many recordings. But away from period style performance, they are a wonderful orchestra in classical and Romantic styles, as they demonstrated comprehensively with Deneve, first in a superb version, with articulate violinist Henning Kraggerud, of Mozart's Fifth Violin Concerto: crisp, light, extremely witty, and and very polished.
The second half was given over to a colossal performance of Mahler's Sixth Symphony, where the first observation has to be that Deneve got the inner two movements the right way round (there is an option) so that the complex and magnetic Scherzo follows the march then melts into the gorgeous slow movement before unleashing the visionary finale.
But the main observations must centre on two elements: first, Deneve's maturity in penetrating the core of the symphony with his realising in sound that, musically, the symphony is all about the semitone: a single step between major and minor; a mere blink between joy and heartbreak; an intake of breath that signals a transformation of mood and emotional temperature; the infinitesimal difference between a smile and a tear.
And second, the rock solid structure and immensely expressive variation the conductor released from the score, all played with amazing integrity and balance by his stunning orchestra, with its basses a bedrock of sound lined along the back, its incredible first horn, glorious woodwind section and strings playing from the back desk right through to the front.
A great orchestra, a model of balanced ensemble playing and a fantastic concert.