qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

All the right notes, in the right order

In 2008 I was really very disappointed with Stephen Hough's performance of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, to the extent that there's a nervous twitch whenever his name is mentioned on Radio 3. Last night there was the opportunity to banish the bad memories, as another performer had a go.

Prom 4 began with Mahler's re-orchestration of Schumann's Manfred overture. I recognised some themes though I would not say I was familiar with either the original piece nor of Mahler's amendments, which were nevertheless obvious on occasion. It seemed to me that the strings of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko, were a little ragged at the start, but it was an interesting concert opener.

The piano soloist on this occasion was Simon Trpčeski. His opening was unhurried. After all, what merit is there in playing the notes so fast that the audience can't here them? The orchestra joined in. Petrenko conducted and Trpčeski played the notes Rachmaninov had written. The audience approved - there were enough people in the Hall who shared my memories of 2008 and also my reactions to this completely different performance.

The second half of the concert was Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony, providing a thematic link to the opening work. Again, I wasn't familiar with the piece, and though I did find it a bit long - especially in the final movement - it was harmonically interesting, lyrical in a Russian-liturgical sense, full of Sturm und Drang at times, and featured the organ in the final sections. This will be worth watching again on Saturday evening. (NB the weekend's Doctor Who Prom(s) is/are being recorded for later broadcast on BBC3, according to the Proms web site).
Tags: music
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