The LPO on Top Form for Andrés Orozco-Estrada

29/10/2017

Beethoven and Shostakovich: Inon Barnatan (piano); London Philharmonic Orchestra / Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Royal Festival Hall, London, 27.10.2017. (CC)

Beethoven – Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat, Op.73, ‘Emperor’

Shostakovich – Symphony No.7 in C, Op.60, ‘Leningrad’

Earlier in the same week, the LPO’s Principal Guest Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducted a fascinating programme of Shostakovich, Vasks, Gregorian Chant and Rachmaninov (review).  There was more Shostakovich here, prefaced by Beethoven’s great ‘Emperor’ Concerto.

There was a time when the ‘Emperor’ seemed pretty much omnipresent on the London scene. It appeared to be everyone’s calling card; although not quite disappeared from the scene (how could it ever?), it seems to appear rather less these days. Step forward LPO debutant Inon Barnatan, who was to perform the same concerto with the orchestra again the following night at Brighton Dome. Barnatan was the first ever Artist in Association with the New York Philharmonic. He champions contemporary music and has featured music by Ronald Stevenson in his recitals as well as the likes of Pintscher, all of which speaks of a discerning mind; an Avie recording, Darknesse visible, its title taken from a piece by Adès, confirms this (review).

Perhaps nerves affected Barnatan’s accuracy, for there were decidedly splashy moments here, and the occasional note that refused to speak. Barnatan’s positives are that his fingerwork is hyper-clear (a real asset in the opening flourishes) and that he listens well to the orchestra -for example in the passage where Beethoven foregrounds woodwind solos against piano accompaniment. The negative is that his sound is rather light which can mean that at the higher levels his sound is rather over-metallic. Orozco-Estrada reaffirmed his credentials as accompanist throughout, and he shaped the opening of the central movement most affectionately. This central panel was by far the finest movement of the performance, with Barnatan fluidly lyrical, while in the finale the marriage of Barnatan’s finger clarity with the spirit of the piece led to a refreshingly zingy account, one graced with perfect octave trills. We nearly did not get an encore: at precisely the moment when the applause seemed primed to fizzle out, Barnatan returned, taking the opportunity to rattle off a fresh but again somewhat splashy finale to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in F, Op.10/2. Currently, Barnatan is recording the complete Beethoven concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He will return to the UK after a brief flit to Germany for a recital with cellist Alisa Weilerstein at the Wigmore Hall on November 2.

Shostakovich’s vast Seventh Symphony makes demands on players and audience alike, not least for the latter in surviving the sheer decibel onslaught. Yuri Temirkanov and the St Petersburg Philharmonic gave a memorable performance at the Barbican in 2012 (review); and although I was not reporting on it, it is hard to erase memories of another Barbican performance, this time with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur. This LPO South Bank performance was itself highly impressive. The determined opening was a straightforward, non-nonsense statement of intent. Defined, especially in the bass register, it led to a wide-ranging first movement that moved from the positively filmic to the utmost tenderness. Superb clarinet solos and the vast brass choir at the movement end are worthy of note.

Shostakovich’s grotesque side was highlighted in the second movement Allegretto (superb E flat clarinet solos from Thomas Watmough) and while the Adagio strained to find light, Orozco-Estrada consistently blocked it from doing so. Whirligig met parody met huge brass peroration in the finale; the enthusiastic reception was well deserved. It’s great to hear the LPO on top form under a conductor they clearly respect.

Colin Clarke

For more about the LPO click here.

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The Piccadilly Chamber Music Series in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! I Musicanti’s Alexandra and the Russians at St Johns Smith Square in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • UPDATED! SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS CHOOSE THEIR ‘BEST OF 2017’ __________________________________
  • NEW! OMER MEIR WELLBER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! GREGOR TASSIE IN CONVERSATION WITH VALENTINA LISITSA __________________________________
  • NEW! Dénes Várjon Talks to Sebastian Smallshaw About Budapest’s Kamara.hu __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Russian Ballet Icons Gala at the London Coliseum on 25 February __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H