Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat, Op.73 (Emperor)
Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op.68
Radu Lupu (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 11 December, 2009
Venue: Southbank Centre, London – Royal Festival Hall
The current regrettable trend of denying audiences an ‘overture’ of some sort seemed particularly irksome here. Thus we crashed ‘cold’ into the opening of the ‘Emperor’ Concerto, Radu Lupu (no stranger recently to London through appearances with the LSO as well as recitals in Brighton and Oxford) giving a gentle if also potent riposte to the orchestra’s majestic chords. Humanity, subtlety, and clarity of expression informed Lupu’s contribution, always at the accommodation of the orchestral writing (details emerged naturally instead of competing with a dominating soloist), Saraste and the LPO very much en rapport with this unassuming, enigmatic if compelling pianist/artist, whose fortissimos are never forced or percussive. The slow movement, taken at a now-unfashionable spacious tempo, with no worries about ‘authenticity’, was very affecting, Lupu’s notes seeming like starlight, the effect with the orchestra’s hush was rapt. The finale, also measured, danced rather than careered and the lyrical asides were elegant.