A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Friday, 26 November 2010

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festivall Hall, 24/11/10

I was at the Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra play an all Russian programme conducted by Vasily Petrenko.

The opening piece was Stravinsky’s ‘Scherzo Fantastique’, a brief, fairly restrained piece which I was hearing for the first time. It was quite serene and calm for Stravinsky I thought. Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was the second piece played. I enjoyed it very much despite the pianist apparently losing his way towards the end (which I read about on the Artsdesk website later). It is quite a moderate, concise concerto but is full of Prokofiev-esque lyricism, turns of phrase and musical motifs.

The final piece was Shostakovich’s magnificent Symphony No. 11, one of my favourite classical pieces. It is such an epic, explosive symphony describing the Russian Revolution of 1905 (which was appropriate in some ways, given that London had witnessed large demonstrations against the government’s proposals on higher education funding during the day). The LPO played it superbly, the melodic themes strong throughout with the brass and percussion on particularly fine form. The second movement was especially dramatic, as was the final fourth movement which features repeated orchestral climaxes. Spine-tingling, powerful music, containing everything a symphony should.

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