Karabits’s Performance of Walton’s Second Symphony has Bite and Colour

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Walton: Simon Trpčeski (piano), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Kiril Karabits (conductor), Lighthouse, Poole, 12.10.2016. (IL)

Tchaikovsky – Capriccio Italien

Rachmaninov – Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini 

Walton – Symphony No.2

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s 2016/17 season’s opening concert at the Lighthouse was simultaneously broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Francesco Piemontesi was billed to be soloist in the Rachmaninov Rhapsody but had to be replaced by Simon Trpčeski no stranger to Bournemouth SO audiences, who delivered a polished, powerful yet subtly shaded and nuanced reading of this concert favourite aided by an equally compelling accompaniment from Karabits.  As an encore, Trpčeski was joined by Jesper Svedberg, the leader of the Bournemouth SO cellos in an affecting performance of Rachmaninov’s wistfully romantic Vocalise.

Tchaikovsky‘s Capriccio Italien, not heard too frequently these days, was composed while the composer was holidaying in Rome and recovering from his disastrous marriage. It is a sunny, carefree work based mainly on the Italian popular tunes that he probably heard in the streets intermingled with fanfares and martial music sounding from a nearby barracks.  Karabits’s flamboyant reading had plenty of colour and swagger and nicely judged little Italianesque felicities .

The main work, played first, was Walton’s Second Symphony in three movements.  After the immediate appeal of the First Symphony with its angry, dramatic first three movements and heroic finale, the reception of the Second Symphony, after a prolonged gestation and revisions and reshapings, was distinctly tepid.  For many, perhaps repeated hearings of this symphony are needed to fully appreciate its diamond hard and edgy beauty. Written for a large orchestra, its scoring includes two harps, a piano contributing more than just percussive effects and enlarged brass and percussion. The strings shape the romantic episodes. Karabits’s reading was fiery with bite and nervous momentum especially over those prickly, eerie passages. A thoughtful performance with outstanding playing by the whole orchestra especially the brass and woodwinds.

Ian Lace

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