Giandrea Noseda presented a muscled version (for nowadays standards for classical repertoire) of the London Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven 4th piano concerto. Nikolai Lugansky had not problem at all to get his sound filling the Barbican. The fierce attacks from Noseda were usually relaxed when the piano was coming in. Lugansky specially shined on the candezas. The second part, in consonance with the first one, was pure energy. Loudness and exhibitionism suits well to Shostakovitch 8th symphony but Noseda kept it classy by giving all the grows a proper meaning.
A 2000 people full house and four encores could mean all or nothing. Some artists fame and marketing can sell all the tickets and get the audience with their minds set for a big applause. Those artists could be tempted to not take risk, do an easy thing an an easy triumph. Fortunately for us this was not the case of Evgeny Kissin: he took risks (serious ones) and triumphed. Win win.
I cannot find any proper reason for coupling Beethoven 1st piano concerto with Mahler 5th Symphony. Seriously, it was quite dumb. At least Philharmonia didn’t program any 6 minutes overture that would had introduced a 7 minutes extra delay to place the piano on stage after it. Rant is over. Well, not so over because Beethoven concerto performance was problematic. It was not a technical problem from orchestra, pianist or conductor.
Martin Helmchen has just released his recording of Beethoven Diabelli variations in alpha and his is touring them: However the most interesting part of this Southbank Center International Piano series programme was the inclusion of 4 Novellettes by Robert Schumann, a music rarely heard in concert. This was serious stuff. Helmchen played the music with intense concentration, not allowing any rest in between pieces, trying to make a coherent narrative with these somehow disjointed pieces.
This was one of the highlights of the Barbican presents season and it not only kept up but exceeded the expectations. Maisky and Argerich have been long term partners on stage and recordings and we all knew how well they worked together. But how well the young Janise Jansen would fit the team was the unknown bit here. But hell, we all known how Martha leads her chamber music making bringing out the best from each of her partners.
Second concert in the Barbican presents international orchestras series and second German orchestra. This one was the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Why did the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig remain untranslated on the Barbican website and programmes and this one was translated instead of keeping the original Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in German? This lack of translating policy in UK is killing my Prussian mind. Mariss Jansons has been chief conductor of the BRSO since 2003, making him the 2nd longest serving conductor after Rafael Kubelík (passing others like Eugen Jochum, Colin Davis or Lorin Maazel).
Very interesting piano recital with Jonathan Biss at Wigmore Hall. Since the very beginning of the sonata K310 we realized it was not the conventional academic Mozart so common nowadays between those clone-like-pianist. His approach was not classic at all, but more like a sturm-und-drang Mozart, emphasizing contrasts with flexible dynamics and subordinating tempi to the narrative. It was a quite valid performance which made a lot of more sense in the context of what was coming next.
Leif Ove Andsnes presented a very demanding programme at the Royal Festival Hall. I found it perfect and not at all the typical thing a pianist takes on tour. It included: * Sibelius small pieces from his last album that is rocking, to fill the promotion/present bits * Jörg Widmann music, to fill the contemporary bits * Schubert not so popular pieces, to bring light into a well known composer * a Beethoven sonata, the big repertoire quota * Chopin works, as final beauty treat
First concert of the visiting orchestras series at the Barbican this season. And what an orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the oldest in active civil orchestra. Also was of the oldest conductors: Herbert Blomstedt. One more perk: the not so frequently programmed Beethoven triple concerto with three front line soloists: Leonidas Kavakos, Gautier Capuçon and Kirill Gerstein (that’s why is not so frequent, paying three soloists is much more expensive). And the final one was having Bruckner 7th symphony, which was premiered by this very same orchestra.
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
What a treat! One of the best pianist out there, Igor Levit, playing one of the top piano masterpieces ever: Beethoven’s Diabelli variations. And for free. The concert was part of the Memory Varied event by BBC Radio 3 and The Wellcome collection (the double l in Wellcome blows always my mind). To add extra sugar to the morning, Levit, wearing delicious white sneakers, had an informal talk explaining his views on the work and the performance.
Another great music night with the London Symphony Orchestra. The programme was very classic and the only novelty was doing the symphony in the first part and the concerto in the second one. The Brahms was what we expected: control and crystal-clear exposition. The whole was over the parts and every single modulation had a clear path in the whole picture of this 3rd symphony performance. No crazy rubato neither HIP-influenced dynamics.
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