01 April, 2009

Concert Review: LSO/Repin/Gergiev (II)

Concert Review: LSO/Repin/Gergiev (II)

March 30th, 2009
Avery Fisher hall
London Symphony Orchestra/Repin/Gergiev
Prokofiev Symphonies 4, 5; Violin Concerto No. 2

New York Times Review

Please first read the excellent NYT review (link above). Not much to add really, just a few comments.

It was really nice to hear yet another neglected Prokofiev symphony in concert, this time the original version of the Symphony No. 4, which I had never heard till I got the (Philips) LSO/Gergiev Prokofiev set 2 years ago. It was derived from The Prodigal Son, and indeed it sounded quite ballet-like. What ba "opener"!

Both times at these concerts I was sitting next to the same gentleman and we had a great time chatting about Prokofiev and music. Turns out, like me, he's a Bruckner fan! It's actually easy to make friends in a NYC concert hall. The audience is so knowledgeable and friendly.

I enjoyed Repin's performance of the Concerto No. 2 rather more than the No. 1 a week ago. It was not the most ethereal performance but still finely nuanced, and it found Repin in more relaxed form. The encore was amazing, more so that the (guest) concertmaster absolutely held his own!! The 2 violins could be easily separated, Repin's Guaneiri darker in timber. I can't really remember the last time I heard a violin duo! And of this cabliber!

It goes without saying that the performance of the Symphony No. 5 was shattering. More than anything I had heard before, Gergiev brought out the "war symphony" aspect of this score, and the first movement felt a little like Shostakovich's was symphonies in its full-throated outcries. It also goes without saying that it was not the most lyrical account, rather an anti-romantic one that brought it closer to wartime. The powerful finale, chock-full of percussion, had inexorable momentum, but it did not erase memory of the Munich/Celibidache's live performance in HK, which had incredible fluidity and rhythmic elan in the race to the finish.

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