The final concert of the Sibelius symphonies full cycle was the best. Previous symphonies performances were from good to very good but the 7th and 2nd played this night were excellent. The magical tonality experiments around C on the 7th were exposed with perfect transparency and precision even with joy. In between the symphonies Finnish soprano Anu Komsi sang Sibelius own Luonnotar and the UK premiere of Aarre Merikanto Ekho. She did it well and Oramo perfectly did the concertante parts in the orchestra (that is, better than expected).
Festive concerto to celebrate Finland independence 100th anniversary. In the programme seminal works for Finland as a nation and for Sibelius as a composer: Press Celebrations Music (UK premiere!), Cantique and Devotion and the 1st symphony. It was really nice to listen to Press Celebrations Music, the work which included originally the famous Finlandia piece. Sakari Oramo did a wonderful job conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra with precision and enthusiasm.
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
Double interest on this BBC Symphony Orchestra: a first part full of interesting and not so frequent work and the continuation of Sibelius symphonic cycle by Sakari Oramo. And result were quite good. Florent Schmitt Symphony No.2 is a very interesting work, mixing the modern music feeling with the traditional tonality easiness. The rich percussion writing was perfect to showcase an orchestra in its best and a conductor that feels like in home while exposing this rhythm structures.
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.
Very interesting programme in the opening night for the BBC Symphony Orchestra with his chief conductor Sakari Oramo and violinist Alina Pogostkina. The core of it was Sibelius’ 5th symphony, part of the All Sibelius Symphonies theme planned for this season. Why opening the series with the 5th and not doing in order? Maybe to match the next day 6th and 7th performed by Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen? That would be incredible complicity between London orchestras :)
What a mixture for the 33th Prom! Nordic music + German romanticism + German anti-romanticism. And a vocal soloist for the first part of the concert and a cello one for the second one. And what a success! Things didn’t start quite well in the initial pieces of the Peer Gynt selection: Storgårds was conducting too straight to the point with too much energy without letting the lyrical aspect of the score to arise.