Philharmonia Orchestra with Abduraimov and Ashkenazy: great Prokofiev and interesting soviet propaganda music
Interesting concert showing some almost forgotten and forgettable soviet music along with proper hits.
Mosolov The Iron Foundry opened the concert as a small wink to the repetitive American composers who think that they invented something with the musical minimalism. No, it was already done as we can hear in this less than 4 minute piece. Ashkenazy put the Philharmonia in clockwork mode and everything worked fine.
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 was the serious bit of the night and it was nicely played by Behzod Abduraimov. With the conductor being a fellow pianist, as a gentle as Ashkenazy is, the orchestra pledged to the let the soloist command the lyric narrative of the music. This was a very high level performance of a piece that is hard to get it right.
Second part was devoted to Reinhold Glière, a musical conservative embraced as Artist of the People by soviet authorities. Post-romantic music to please a easy listening audience. The Concerto for coloratura soprano and orchestra is still a stravaganzza that many sopranos has sung just because of it. Here we had a last minute replacement of Alish Tynan by Nadezhda Gulistskaya that was not an easy task. She sung it with propriety. Some initial difficulties were solved on the last movements.
The Red Poppy suite was boring, but nothing was the fault of the musicians this night but intrinsically from the work itself. At least they have the decency of not being as tacky as they could have been.
Hopefully we went home remembering the nice Prokofiev concerto.