Tugan Sokhiev and Simon Trpčeski are two musicians enjoying much attention. Trpčeski, in particular, has amassed golden opinions; yet he has seemed, for all his technical excellence, somewhat short in having something to say about the music he plays. Not so on this occasion. This was a riveting account of the much essayed (and much abused) Tchaikovsky concerto that opened here with majestic sweep and developed with conviction across the three movements, Trpčeski finding a range of responses and an emotional engagement that hasnt always been within his gift.
With Sokhiev and the Philharmonia alert and sympathetic partners, Trpčeskis dynamic and colourful playing was a constant delight, whether in bravura or intimate sections, in a compelling account of the first-movement cadenza (somewhat manhandled at times but in a caring sort of way!), a delightfully tripping view of the Andantino semplice, which seemed a carefree intermezzo, and a robust account of the finale, one with plenty of power but with as much concern for pellucid and glittering textures. For an encore, Trpčeski played October from Tchaikovskys The Seasons; the long silence at the close was as eloquent as the music itself and Trpčeskis rendition of it.
Tugan Sokhiev conducts for the music and the musicians and his interpretations are similarly focussed. The Enchanted Lake was atmospherically and beautifully played, with just the right amount of coldness to suggest a lack of human habitation and a sense of latent force beneath the dark, still water with the occasional glint from the stars above; all brought off with minimum fuss.
Sokhiev and the Philharmonia certainly have a close relationship, and Sokhievs view of Scheherazade was refreshingly direct its a piece that simply cant take the mauling it sometimes gets and played with great spirit, and finesse, even in the overly frenetic finale that rode roughshod over Rimskys precisely notated metrical divisions. Indeed, throughout the piece, there were times when a bit more breathing space and a greater sense of fantasy were required. The overriding impression was of the sheer quality of the Philharmonias response, especially in the intimate moments, and not least from James Clark who provided some beautifully judged violin solos.
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