Scythian Suite, Op.20
Symphony No.4 (Sinfonia concertante)
Symphony No.4 in F minor, Op.36
Peter Jablonski (piano)
I, CULTURE Orchestra
Sir Neville Marriner [Tchaikovsky]
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 6 November, 2011
Venue: Southbank Centre, London – Royal Festival Hall
One of Karol Szymanowski’s final works (1932) was given a revealing rendition. A mix of symphony and concerto, this concentrated mix of languor, cragginess, folksiness and ebullience, leanly and economically written, yet communicative and nostalgic, found an assured Peter Jablonski ideally ‘first among equals’ and the orchestra distinctive in sound (darkly luminous) and identification. There were some notable solos, not least from flute and violin.
A hale and hearty Sir Neville Marriner (now 87) took charge of the Tchaikovsky. Aside from too-loud and over-piercing trumpets this was an integrated performance avoiding hysteria, the first movement’s sections seamlessly negotiated into stormier waters. A lovely oboe solo introduced the Andantino, shapely and expressive, and the pizzicatos of the scherzo were fleet and gently strummed, woodwinds and brass bringing élan to the trio. The finale was exhilarating without being showy, light and shade still part of the mix to conclude a consistently musical and thoughtfully considered performance played with enjoyment and shared as such. Pavel Kotla returned for an encore, the ‘Mazurka’ from Halka, an opera by Polish music’s father-figure Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872), a foot-stamping celebratory dance that cued smiles (and flowers) all round.