Last Saturday night’s packed house enjoyed an all-Russian programme, beginning with a fizzing Glinka Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture, full-throated cellos gloriously to the fore, under Michael Seal’s baton.
Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto exerted every ounce of concentration from these young players, Seal’s large beat encouraging them to listen with attention to every nuance of soloist Sasha Grynyuk. His reading was rich in detail, his tone cello-like in the work’s generous melodies, and brilliant in figuration.
There are so many pluses in the presentation of these concerts, and the greatest of these is the writing of programme-notes by orchestra members themselves.
But it was perhaps over-ambitious to choose Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony to conclude the evening. Woodwind intonation (despite some wonderful flute and piccolo solos) was occasionally suspect, one paragraph for the horns teetered on the borderline, and there was a general sense of over-stretchedness.
But full marks to the double-basses, grimly death-rattling as this wonderful piece moved towards its nihilistic end.