Breathtaking Tchaikovsky (Queensland Symphony Orchestra)
Liszt’s first piano concerto is quite a piece. Like any work by Liszt, there is the physical challenge of the piano part, but the soloist here really has to work with the orchestra – I can’t help but think that there are some well-known piano concertos. (let’s not give names, thoughâ¦) where the orchestral part really only marks time for some additional flourishes and arpeggios from the soloist. Here there is less piano demagoguery which it is so tempting to associate with Liszt, and much more team effort between the soloist and the orchestra.
Konstantin Shamray’s virtuoso credentials are very impressive (winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2008, for example, plus an enviable collection of chamber collaborations), so it’s no surprise that his Liszt feels at ease and at ease. security. The orchestral opening of the first movement came in powerfully, and Shamray’s introductory octave response had serious intensity. In the delicate second movement, the crisp separation of the parts in Shamray’s hands was charming, and the third movement’s famous triangular note cascades also kept things moving well, although some violins seemed to lose a bit of crispness in this movement as well. movement (ideally) rhythmically precise passage. I wouldn’t have disturbed a Shamray callback here, but I suspect the weather didn’t allow it.
I should probably mention that for this performance the QSO strings were laid out in a slightly different layout. Rather than the usual setup, the double basses were behind the first violins, and the second violins were where cellists normally sit. Frankly, I’m not sure it made a big difference except to make the second violins slightly harder to hear since they were then turned away from the audience. It was a little easier to see what the double basses were doing, I guess? I think this sort of layout tinkering probably makes a more noticeable difference in the bedroom settings where we can really hear every detail, but a worthy experience, maybe.
However, the major attraction of this concert was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, âPathÃ©tiqueâ. Is this Tchaikovsky’s last masterpiece, created just days before his death? Personally, I’ve always thought it could have been done with a trim or two, but there’s no doubt it’s a fabulous piece (that 5/4 second movement!). Johannes Fritzsch’s conductor has drawn the audience into Tchaikovsky’s dark history here, prompting the orchestra to truly squeeze the last ounce of emotion out of such Russian melodies.
The first movement was rich, with Nicole Tait’s eerie bassoon melody taking center stage in the introduction, while the flowing cellist melody in the second movement brought a smile to the face. The opening of the rapid-fire triplets of the third movement seemed to peel off some of the upper strings (there were passages not quite together around the ensemble), but at the end of the movement it turned into a lively performance. – the brass were clearly having fun here. The last movement was a long, slow display of melancholy in minor, although I felt it was almost too dramatic – I heard renditions of this last movement that let it sing a bit more simply, and ultimately more moving as a result. Nonetheless, a satisfying ending for one of Tchaikovsky’s most beloved works.
I would have loved to see something a little less traditional somewhere in this gig to spice things up (the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, for example, has regularly worked on their 50 Fanfares of Newly Commissioned Works project this year), but it These were definitely some nice performances from a pair of great parts. Pleasant, if not breathtaking.