Before even the concert started we could see the differences between London orchestras and this fine Filarmonica della Scala: although the first work, a Rossini overture, didn’t involve a piano the piano was already in place ready for the next work. Just in the previous week we saw two different London orchestras re-configuring the stage to bring the piano after just a work shorter than 8 mins: Spartacus Adagio before Rachmaninoff 3rd piano concerto with the LPO and Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune before Ravel piano concerto in G with the Philharmonia. In both cases reconfiguring the stage to place the piano took longer than the initial played piece, keeping the audience bored in dark. Looks like the Italians are more to the point and care less about the conductor been perfectly shown (don’t tell me about acoustics, these are the Barbican and the Royal Festival Hall).

The oder difference was that tonight conductor’s podium was covered with red velvet (as it is in Milan). Not a bad idea to remove the crunchy sounds the Oramo jumps over it with the BBCSO :).

Now to the music itself. The mentioned overture was Rossini’s to La Gazza Ladra which was superbly played by the orchestra with a rich antiphonal game between the tamburi. Chailly managed perfectly also all the crescendi and dynamics.

The soloist for the Grieg piano concerto was Benjamin Grosvenor and his performance was a little bit problematic. Sure he is a virtuoso, but he played the whole work in a very percussive way, tending to forte, while the orchestra was much more subtle with the dynamical gradations. So it was good but could have been much better.

The second part of the concert was Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4. Just one week before he listened to it played by the LPO with a Russian conductor. Differences were clear from the beginning: brass opening from La Scala was less aggressive (also more flawless). String section sounded more cantabile without denying the force needed for this work (those pizzicati in forte were sublime!). I liked more this version as a whole because of greater uniformity and clarity.

The much demanded encore was a sublime performance of Verdi I vespri siciliani overture.