Printer Friendly

CULTURE: Stunning night; St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra Symphony Hall *****.

Byline: David Hart

What a difference a name makes. The St Petersburg Philharmonic would have filled Symphony Hall on Wednesday, but the Russian city's lesser-known Symphony Orchestra attracted a far from capacity audience.

Those who stayed away missed a treat, namely a stunning account of Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony that showed this orchestra, and its conductor Alexander Dmitriev, to be truly world-class musicians.

Dmitriev's quiet authority and almost self-effacing direction allowed the music to speak for itself, especially in the long opening Moderato, where tension was screwed up most powerfully, and after the gut-wrenching tutti unison climax, released by some lovely woodwind solos and burnished string tone.

And the visceral power of the ferocious scherzo, a great showpiece for any band when played blisteringly well, was thrillingly conveyed.

Few composers - except Mahler, who worked to a different emotional agenda - can combine seriousness with banality, as Shostakovich does in the finale of this wonderful symphony.

Again, Dmitriev demonstrated a masterly understanding of where the music was progressing (to eventually erupt in a blazing major-key coda as it happens) while the orchestra's ability to reveal every expressive nuance was quite awesome.

More revelations, if of a different kind, in Tchaikovsky's Piano concerto No. 1, which the soloist Igor Tchetuev made sound almost newly minted.

This was a gloriously fresh and unsentimental reading of an admittedly hackneyed work, never too grandiose but bitingly secure in passage-work and with amazingly clarity in the many fistfuls of notes.

David Hart
COPYRIGHT 2006 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 6, 2006
Words:244
Previous Article:CULTURE: All washed up; DVD REVIEW Poseidon (Cert 12, 94 mins, pounds 18.99) ***.
Next Article:BRAIN GAIN: Quiz of the Day.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters