Philharmonia Orchestra: Mozart hits and Scheherazade
The house (Royal Festival Hall) was almost full because of a lot of reasons: * a London beloved conductor, Yuri Temirkanov * a programme with repertoire great hits, Mozart Nozze overture and Piano Concerto No. 21 and Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade * a pianist that is very much appreciated by connoisseurs, Elisso Virsaladze * the very high quality concerts by Philharmonia Orchestra this season so far
As Hannibal Smith said: I love it when a plan comes together (note for any post-millennial reading this: Hannibal Smith used to say that motto on every episode of the A-Team show that was famous during late 80s/90s).
It was the first time I saw Temirkanov live and, dude, what an strange conducting technique! Full arms movements, mostly the left one. Strange but effective. He did a very classic Mozart in the sense that was not influenced at all by HIP ideas but neither on the uber-romantic ways that predated the 50s-80s concert halls. I have to say that this Mozart sounds very well balanced with a little bit of lightness and enough pathos.
Elisso Virsaladze is not a very famous pianist. She is not in the star system, or well, she was not when such a thing existed for classical music. She does not record a lot a tours very few, and only with friend conductors. She is mostly focused on teaching and probably keeps doing concerts from time to time to keep herself tied to the public performance realm. But, hey, she is a very very fine pianist. She played a very cantabile 21 but without any sign of mannerism or affectation. More in the serious side than in the joyful one. Clear articulations and soft contrasts. As expected, the orchestra matched her perfectly.
The second part of the concert was Rimsky-Korsakov famous Scheherazade. Idiomatic performance with proper contrasts but without the exaggerations other contemporary Russian conductors tend to fall in. Temirkanov focused on creating soft links between sections with smooth transitions rather than steep edges. Not the most dramatic performance but quite meaningful as a full.
Audience enjoyed (if we consider the applause levels) more the Rimsky than the Mozart. Maybe because the pianist was not famous? I don’t know, but I really enjoyed both.