Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Vasily Petrenko Pascal & Ami Rogé

Concerto in E flat for Two Pianos and Orchestra, K365
Symphony No.5

Pascal and Ami Rogé (pianos)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko

Reviewed by: Glyn Môn Hughes

Reviewed: 7 November, 2010
Venue: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Vasily Petrenko. Styled by Lorraine McCulloch, courtesy of Cricket Liverpool, photograph:Mark McNultyThe Royal Liverpool Philharmonic barely paused for breath after its sell-out performance of Mahler’s Fourth by plunging straight into the mighty Fifth. Hard going for the orchestra and Vasily Petrenko but great for audiences who could hear something of the chalk-and-cheese symphonic writing of the composer and take time to muse that the two pieces were written barely two years apart.

Petrenko sought a positive opening to the piece, allowing time for that edge-of-teeth C sharp minor tonality to sink in and to allow some of that Mahlerian introversion to wash over us. Petrenko injected considerable passion into the faster central section though the sombre funeral march soon reasserted itself though much of the gloom which had settled in other performances really failed to do so here. There were some heated and violent exchanges in the second movement as well as some superbly haunting cello passages. The brass and woodwind never let Petrenko down. The scherzo had a quite delightful middle section and the easing of tension at the outset of the piece was noticeable. The famous Adagietto was notable for the moments when it was barely perceptible. Petrenko went for a highly elastic performance, just letting the tempo ebb and flow as the music seemed to demand. An ecstatic finale drew a standing ovation. It’s not always something which is deserved but this time both Petrenko and the RLPO deserved recognition for a performance which was flawless, both emotionally and practically.

Pascal Rogé. ©Mary RobertThe afternoon opened with a welcome outing for Mozart’s Two-Piano Concerto. Pascal and Ami Rogé gave a measured and polished performance. The first movement sounded just a little precipitous but the interplay between the two soloists was as fascinating as it was charming. A delicate slow movement led into a quite delightful finale.

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