Philharmonia Orchestra/Robert Trory – 7 February

Fidelio – Overture
Violin Concerto in D, Op.61
Symphony No.2 in D, Op.73

Sergey Dogadin (violin)

Philharmonia Orchestra
Robert Trory

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: 7 February, 2004
Venue: Broadway Theatre, Catford,
London SE6

This was a concert of commemoration and coronation. On Boxing Day last, Hugh Bean died. He was for many years a distinguished member of the Philharmonia Orchestra, including two terms as Leader, one as Emeritus. This concert was dedicated to Bean who was fondly remembered in the programme. Appropriately it was a young violinist who was celebrated – Sergey Dogadin, born 1988 in St Petersburg, has an assured international future. He went in at the deep end with the Beethoven concerto and emerged unscathed. He is mature, although ’natural’ seems the better word, and brought to the Beethoven unhindered lyricism and a flexing of muscles that’s just right for this expansive piece.

He isn’t though a ’wunderkind’, someone for the hype merchants, for Dogadin has innate style and genuine focus on what he does. With playing-poise, enormous confidence and a relaxed stage presence, Dogadin is first and foremost a musician, one already carving a niche for himself – not least in his choice of first-movement cadenza (based, it seems, on the one Beethoven wrote when he transcribed this concerto for piano), and, although maybe overdone, his ’extra’ cadenzas before the finale and during it at least show an individual persuasion. Of the printed text itself, Dogadin was a selfless and perceptive interpreter; quite a coup for Sydenham Music to have introduced him.

Such initiative belongs to Robert Trory, who was an alert accompanist, the Philharmonia Orchestra’s pedigree shining through, as it did all evening. The Broadway Theatre was originally a 1920s’ cinema; many original ’art deco’ fixtures and fittings remain attractively in place, and the atmosphere is friendly. It doesn’t hold a ’full’ symphony orchestra – the Phiharmonia’s string section was of 21 violins down to 4 double basses – yet the acoustics are excellent in being fulsome without being oppressive, and sonorous without details coagulating. Indeed, with the strings occupying the floor, winds and brass raised above them, there is a real sense of interaction between performers and audience. In short, the Broadway Theatre is a pleasant and vibrant auditorium in which to listen to music. Near-by amenities under the heading ’food and drink’ are also excellent!

Robert Trory has St Petersburg connections too in that he studied there with Ilya Musin. Although he is demonstrative in his commitment, Trory lets the music flow and he trusts the musicians – wisely so when it’s the Philharmonia and, one imagines, rehearsal time is restricted to ’on the day’. He also has a distinctive view of the pieces played; there was no doubting the overture heralds an opera.

With the important first-movement exposition repeat in place, Trory led an eloquent, deeply felt Brahms 2 of strong current, the more-andante Adagio very convincing. Only the rather inorganic ’kick’ in the very final pages slightly detracted, as did a tendency for trumpets to be a tad dominant, but overall this was a musical and intense reading illuminated by typically-characterful woodwind- and horn-playing and warm string-sound.

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