Russian Classics, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Pavilion, Bournemouth, October 24th, 2009
THERE’S never a shortage of Rachmaninov works in the concert hall and in this all-Russian programme the under appreciated Piano Concerto No.1 was centrepiece. The brilliant Russian pianist Oleg Marshev has a natural gift of idiomatic involvement that informs every note.The dynamic range and technical command was tremendously impressive in the tautly constructed outer movements and his feeling for Rachmaninov’s romantically inspired lyricism made the central Andante mesmerising.
The highlight for me was Shuntaro Sato’s direction of the BSO in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Pathetique’. Here we heard a performance that was superbly controlled, rhythmically cogent and set to bring out all the underlying pathos and tensions without recourse to over-dramatisation. Sato’s attention to detail, from the hushed opening to the dying bass lines, was unequivocally searching and included a poignantly poetic performance from clarinettist Christine Roberts. I still live in hope of hearing a performance in which no one applauds after the third movement. Indubitably a nod towards Hallowe’en with the powerful Mussorgsky/Rimsky-Korsakov Night on the Bare Mountain. The BSO gave vent to the vile trickery of all the witches this side of hell and Sato made sure the-morning-after-the-night-before was suitably subdued. Mike Marsh