Moscow State Symphony Orchestra * *
at Symphony Hall
Review by Maggie Cotton
Do Russian orchestras get complacent with Russian music? Their vast repertoire fields wonderful scores, but an inclusion of other composers would surely interest players as well as their UK audiences.
Dancers would have been hard pressed to deliver a convincing performance to Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, ballet: mostly too fast and unimaginative. And was the overdone string portamento in the Rose Adagio Tchaikovsky’s creation, one wonders? Lovely music, but a vulgar interpretation throughout.
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is a musical Himalayan peak, one which Chloe Hanslip managed to survive almost unscathed. Her spirited enthusiasm carried her through technical fireworks, but double stopping slowed the onslaught somewhat, and tone was sacrificed in lower registers: hard-edged and unclear. The photo-finish finale arrived in a frantic rush, too fast for comfort for all concerned, but a brave attempt from a very young performer.
Rarely heard, Glazunov’s Concert Waltz is an unmemorable ‘filler’, initially charming, but ultimately tedious.
Party piece Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky-Ravel) was extremely loud, exciting, but again far too fast, with no space for breathing, phrasing, or musical magic. At last the brass came into their own, with splendid solos from tuba, trumpet and a fine chorale-like CatacombsCongratulations on hair-raising witches with ponticelli strings, a scary finger nails on blackboard effect.
As ever, the encores brought the house down, not least a conductorless furioso dance by Khatchaturian led by spectacular snare drum playing.