United Kingdom Borodin, Glazunov, Kodály, Mussorgsky orch. Ravel: Eugene Ugorski(violin), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Michał Dworzynski (conductor), Guild Hall, Preston, 29.11.2011 (MC)
Borodin: Polovtsian Dances
Glazunov: Violin Concerto
Kodály: Dances of Galánta
Mussorgsky orch. Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition
At first sight this concert might have seemed a routine affair. It’s not unusual to have a programme of highly popular works in the weeks approaching the festive season. This Liverpool Philharmonic concert certainly fell into that category. Charismatic chief conductor Vasily Petrenko was not wielding the baton; that task had gone to Michał Dworzynski, an up-and-coming Polish conductor who was almost certainly a new name to the majority of the audience. A number too might have felt underwhelmed by the prospect of hearing a twenty-two year old soloist – a fledgling name on the international circuit.
With its folksy phrasing and rustic dance rhythms Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances remains a perennially admired score. Providing lively and delectably sprung rhythms Dworzynski got himself off to a fine start with this buoyant curtain raiser. In the Glazunov Violin Concerto Russian born Eugene Ugorski revealed himself as an outstanding musician with exceptional technical command. Belying his tender years there was a special responsiveness and freshness about Ugorski’s performance of this unashamedly romantic score. Conveyed so gloriously the dreamy slow movement highlighted the sweet singing tone of Ugorski’s violin.
In his attractive Dances of Galánta Kodály employed a series of melodies from published editions of Hungarian dances. Nevertheless the music exhibits a Hungarian folk spirit with Dworzynski underlining a broad range of vivid orchestral colours. To conclude Mussorgsky’s crowd pleasing masterwork Pictures at an Exhibition in Ravel’s brilliant orchestration is a dazzling orchestral showpiece. Dworzynski showed his skill in moulding the score’s myriad moods and alternating tempos with exquisite musical colouring.
In an upbeat programme, with plenty of opportunity to shine, the woodwind section played with great credit. Featured extensively, the principal clarinet and bassoon were in spirited form. Few can have failed to notice how the polished Liverpool string section just keeps on improving. The brass section, bolstered by the impressive sonority of the horns, ensured the orchestra was firmly underpinned. So if ever there was an example of first sights being deceptive this concert was it. Anything but routine, the concert was a highly satisfying evening’s entertainment. Soloist Eugene Ugorski is certainly a name to look out for.