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In the Forum: Musical Discussions
In the Thread: I hate, hate, hate, hate Boston Symphony!
Post Subject: London Symphony in BostonPosted by Romy the Cat on: 3/26/2009

Well, I expected more. It was in short.

In the longer version it would be like this. Valery Gergiev brought LSO in Boston for a single concert with Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto by Alexi Volodin and with Prokofiev’s Firth Symphony. Volodin make a lot of good noise lately and LSO is not the orchestra to miss what they play a few blocks from my home.

The Emperor Concerto was surprise to me. The people around me were absolutely ecstatic but I did not like it at all.  Alexi Volodin demonstrated very secure and very stable play but it was so typical for many today players just a high quality of notes rendering. It had no personality, no statement in the expressions, no expressively in phraseology. Playing pains is like reading poetry out loud - everyone do the same lines but delivery discriminate the message. It felt as Mr. Volodin had no personal messages with his and the play was consequential. To me the ultimate test of a pianist in the Emperor Concerto is the second slow movement. The second movement in ridicules as it is absolutely about nothing. It feels like Beethoven was pulling out of his ass noted just to fill the space between the first and the last movements. The second movement is like the worst Bach partitas composed during pneumonia and heavy fiver. Here is where the mastery of pianist comes to play – to eject life into the meaningless second movement take a bit more than just an ability to play piano well.

The orchestra during the Emperor Concerto surprised me – it was very dull, very dry and sometimes just out of tune. OK, we accustomed to hear it from BSO lately but shall London Symphony demonstrate something different? There was many young people in LSO with a guest concertmaster, I do not know if it was Gergiev’s experimental run but it did not sound as I expected.

After the intermission LSO proceed to Prokofiev’s Firth Symphony. I have to admit that I am not big fun of Prokofiev’s symphonies, I can listen then but I do “get off” with them. His Firth Symphony is the one that I particularly do not appreciate. The celebrated first movement I feel is ridicules. It does not sound symphonic to me but rather as a soundtrack to some kind of another idiotic Hollywood b-movie of “Bravehart”-level, shot to make the M-Way buyer to be able to quote from…

However, behind the misery of the Prokofiev’s music there was some Gergiev’s experience. Nope I did not like the Prokofiev’s First and second movements but it was obvious that Gergiev’s with each bar was getting more and more familiar and comfortable with specifics of Symphony Hall and LSO was gradually picking up. The Third movement the LSO was already there with tone, balance, colors and Gergiev showed off some very sophisticated moments - it was very good. In the movement the LSO and the Symphony Hall already were together and the play was gratifying, even not as smart as during the Third movement. Gergiev ended up the symphony with the Prokofiev’s Lisginka, it was good but overly rhythmical with any desire to inject a “kink” into it. It was good, but might be better.

In whole it was not waste of money but noting truly special…

The Cat

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