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.
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.
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).
When I got the ticket for this concert at Wigmore Hall with Leila Josefowicz and John Novacek very in advance I did it mostly interested on the Prokofiev violin sontata Op.80 and the one by Bernd Alois Zimmermann. The inclusion on the programme of two arrangements for violin and piano of two very popular works (Sibelius Valse Triste and the Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th) looked to me less appealing. On my way to the Wigmore Hall I realized the pattern across all the works in the programme.
All Russian composers, except for the Britten but all Russian themed works. Beforehand it was a very interesting programme with new (as newly heard) works, works of stunning beauty, not-so-frequent-works and spectacular works that are better listened live. It started with Stravinsky’s Funeral Song, one work just rediscovered and “premiered” less than one year ago in Russia. It was a very nice work, less stravinskian than expected and maybe too academic but full of great ideas.