Triply interesting concert this one by the Philharmonia:

  • After two concerts under its principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and one under one of its principal guest conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, it was the turn or the other principal guest conductor: Jakub Hrůša. Do you see the perfect balance?: 2/4 + ¼ + ¼. A perfect occasion to get a feel of this future relationship.
  • Hrůša doing Czech music (if you hadn’t notice the diacritics in Dvořák and Hrůša).
  • One of the top young generation violinist doing Dvořák Violin Concerto after Mutter failure just a month ago

Since the very beginning ofDvořák Violin Concerto Hrůša major virtues were clear. It’s a conductor that let an orchestra express its own personality while guiding it and a total attention to the beauty of the sound. I think it is going to be interesting to have this balance between the more analytical approach from Salonen and this dionysiac approach. Also in the same sense than he pledged to the orchestra sound he did the same with the soloist, listening, looking and following her all the time and doing some amazing matching with dynamics.

Hilary Hahn is probably the violinist that, nowadays, can extract the most beautiful sound from a violin while keeping it powerful and rounded. Also she is a very intelligent player and has evolved her way of playing: now the articulation is more rich and varied. It was an slow version of the concerto, very focused on the expressive side taking advantage on that beautiful sound she and the Philharmonia produced. Hrůša was admirable in all the transitions (very minimal between movements!) keeping the music flowing naturally. A remarkable performance. As encore she played the gigue from Bach Partita No.3.

After the intermission a long work: Smetana full cycle Má Vlast. Quite interesting to have this on the programme as it is not played together so frequently (usualy those 90’ durations are reserver to Mahler hits and so). Even if they are supposed to be individual symphonic poems they work pretty well as a set as the last one begins where the previous ended and has this big epic ending. Hrůša here did again a brilliant conducting, very expressive, energetic but keeping it elegant, not being rude at all. A perfect balance between poetic and dramatic. It is a demanding set for the orchestra and the results were pretty good. During the applause Hrůša appeared very happy and grateful to the orchestra. So much that he greeted, one by one, every single section leader in the orchestra. If this was a test for Hrůša he passed it with high qualification.