Gaming [UK premiere]
Learning to Fly
Ryan Wigglesworth (piano), Eric Villeminey (cello) & Stephen Burke (percussion) [Gaming]
Mark van de Wiel (basset clarinet)
Members of the Philharmonia Orchestra
Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op.36
Piano Concerto No.2 in F, Op.102
The Rite of Spring
Yevgeny Sudbin (piano)
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 15 April, 2010
Venue: Southbank Centre, London – Royal Festival Hall
In the evening concert, Tugan Sokhiev began with a well characterised account of Rimsky-Korsakov’s majestic and exhilarating piece, here incantatory, magically weaved and celebratory. The Rite of Spring, launched by a plaintive bassoon solo (presumably from Michael Cole), was scrupulous, if occasionally running ahead and occasionally ponderous. The very final chord was anything but together and the ‘Sacrificial Dance’ itself was altogether too analyzed for a dance of death, although the ear appreciated the dissection of the notation. Attention to details in the strings was constantly illuminating, and Sokhiev and the Philharmonia’s feel for texture gratifying, and sometimes powerfully atmospheric. Short on theatricality at times, yet avoiding the showpiece tag, this account held the attention for the most part without establishing a truly distinctive course of its own.
Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto has been doing the rounds with London orchestras in the last few weeks – and Sokhiev conducted a performance just over a year ago with the Philharmonia and Nikolai Demidenko. Presumably there is a sliding scale of fees that pays a soloist less for Shostakovich 2 than for Brahms 2, for a pianist can be off home after just 20 minutes with the former yet still be performing at the 50-minute mark with the latter. Yevgeny Sudbin bought welcome tapering to his unforced performance, building the music rather than hammering it home. The song-without-words slow movement was effective for its artless simplicity, the orchestra suggesting a nocturne, but Sokhiev was simply too loud in relation, a curious aberration, and lost essential intimacy. The finale was spirited and shapely, any temptation to nip through it resisted. A tart and detailed accompaniment offered further pleasure. Sudbin delayed his departure by a minute with what appeared to be a little more Shostakovich, biting sarcasm to the fore.