London Philharmonic Orchestra 3rd concert of its London season. It was a very interesting programme with an unusual coupling: Beethoven 3rd piano concerto and Rossini Stabat Mater. The originally announced conductor, LPO Principal Guest Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada, was long time ago replaced by Carlos Miguel Prieto. But another last-time (24 hours before the concert) replacement happened: Hannes Minnaar, the young rising star pianist, withdrew for family reasons and got replaced by a younger rising star: Frank Dupree

It was a risky business doing Beethoven piano concerto No.3 with such a short notice (and minimal rehearsal time). Two main reasons: it’s a work that everyone knows very well and its rhythmic structure demands extra clarity from the performers. Prieto showed a lot of intelligence making things easy for Dupree, clear entrances and no risky overlapping. Dupree did an very secure playing that resulted on an splendid performance. I had the feeling that during the solo passages he showed more fantasy and richer dynamics than in the concertante parts. This is totally understandable under the concert circumstances and we can dream about future concerts. As said, Prieto did a very good job with the orchestra and only a couple of times we hear minor unbalanced sounds textures.

Second part was the real treat of the programme: the rarely performed Rossini Stabat Mater. Programmed probably because is one of the works Andrés Orozco-Estrada championed in the past as you can see (and hear) below:

Was Prieto invited to make his debut with the LPO because he had already planned to play this work with the Sinfónica Nacional de México (September this year) or did he programmed it in the Mexico season because he was invited to play it in London? We don’t know. And we don’t care, because what matters is that he totally understand the work. The London Philharmonic Choir was gorgeous in the difficult score as well as the orchestra. And what a luxury soloist quartet! Joyce El-Khoury is singing these days Bohème at the Royal Opera House and she was stunning in the ensembles, here solo part and the duet with Anna Stéphany, of who we still remember her wonderful singing in Glyndebourne Clemenza. Pertusi was the most experienced singer of the night. His part answering the choir in the a capella parts was amazing. The tenor Kang Wang was new to me. He had an ardent voice specially brilliant when singing forte.

Great success with almost standing up ovation. Audience recognized the brave effort of all the performers and the inclusion of the wonderful Rossini work. Bravi!