Prom 70: BBCSO with Denk and Canellakis play Bartók piano concerto 2 and Dvořák's 8th
Typical structure of fucking-scaring-new-work + not-so-easy-repertoire + classical-easy-hit.
But the fucking-scaring-new-work, Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres), as expected from an enfant terrible as Missy Mazzoli with her PJ Harvey look, was not scaring at all. Actually was much more conservative and traditional than expected. It was also nice full of very interesting composition ideas. Only downside, as many contemporary composers, Mazzoli was trying to do a full showcase of all her composing abilities, stealing from the work some coherence and narrative speech.
The not-so-easy-repertoire was Bartók 2nd piano concerto. It’s a very difficult work for the pianist and the conductor and could be for some audiences. I do really love this concert from the deep of my heart. Defo is my top one from the 20th century. Performance started with Canellakis conducting the orchestra with very rigid mechanical-like movements and Denk looking compulsively to her. I was a little bit scared. This work requires a perfect (and difficult) synchronization between orchestra and soloist. It’s not the kind of work in which the pianist can wait to the orchestra or the other way around. So it took a little while to adjust everything. Fortunately Canellakis rigid conducting helped a lot and we enjoyed a wonderful performance. Denk playing is full of power and he is able to extract lyricism even from the most edgy parts. Canellakis did a very nice job guiding the BBCO, specially with the percussion section that was superb most of the time. In general was a boulezian approach to the work that fit perfectly. Totally orgasmic experience.
After the intermission the classical-easy-hit: Dvořák’s 8th, the happy (and short) one. We could have expected some kind of cold analytical performance after what we had listened during the first part. But not: Mrs Canellakis proved her versatility and did the typical post-romantic approach, with full string vibration expressive and expansive playing, that of course fits also very well to this work. She enjoyed the orchestra and enjoyed showing how good the brass section was on the final movement.
A very enjoyable concert. Congratulations to Karina Canellakis and I am happy that Jeremy Denk is Milton Court Artist-in-Residence of this 2017/2018 season with 4 concerts. Do not miss them.