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.
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.
Faulty concert at the Royal Festival Hall from the Philharmonia playing a all Dvořák programme. Problem was not with the music making, at least from the technical point of view. All sections played nicely all the night long as well as the soloist, an exquisite and elegant Gautier Capuçon. Problem was more at the conceptual level. Paavo Järvi presented all the works like a collection of independent sections. There was not organic grow to reach a climax, just a forte section following a piano section.
Top pieces from the French impressionism repertoire in this programme conducted by the young and brilliand Spaniard Pablo Heras-Casado. Presenting works so well known is risky because everyone in the audience know them very well and have favorite way of playing them. Being Heras-Casado a conductor who likes to explore different paths (like his HIP orchestras collaborations) we could have expected a more radical approach to this works. However we got a very traditional french-way of playing in this matiné concert.
Elim Chan made her debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra as a short noticed replacement for Krzysztof Urbański. And she did it very well with a not at all easy programme. Opening a concert with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture is always tricky. Not only it demands a clear control of all the orchestral layers to expose each one more in different moments but also it is easy to fall in the lousy spectacular gig without keeping of all the organic growing that Tchaikovsky put on it.
The blockbuster on the title suggests that this concert was one of those intended for a full house night. And it almost got it. On the other hand, for the non casual concert goer another Rachmaninov 2nd piano concerto or another Shostakovich 5th symphony need more ingredients to make it appealing. And here the pepper and salt were a couple of respectful musicians: young American Chinese piano star George Li and the most powerful conductor in China: Long Yu.
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).
Triply interesting concert this one by the Philharmonia: After two concerts under its principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and one under one of its principal guest conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, it was the turn or the other principal guest conductor: Jakub Hrůša. Do you see the perfect balance?: 2/4 + ¼ + ¼. A perfect occasion to get a feel of this future relationship. Hrůša doing Czech music (if you hadn’t notice the diacritics in Dvořák and Hrůša).