I was at an odd concert yesterday evening at the Festival Hall - Dvorak and Sibelius though nothing odd about that……no, it was the two works - Dvorak’s Piano concerto (never heard it before after all these years!) and the Sibelius incidental music to The Tempest, in homage to the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death - something which itself is being done to death around the world this year.
Stephen Hough has long been a passionate advocate for Dvorak’s underwhelming concerto, as apparently had also been Sviatoslav Richter. Well I don’t really get it, finely executed though it was by Mr Hough with the splendid London Philharmonic under Osmo Vänskä, a magnificent conductor of the Sibelius symphonies amongst much else.
He devotion to Sibelius made the choice of The Tempest music rather odd - not surely music the the great Finn will be remembered for.........the episodes were helpfully linked together by Simon Callow. But somehow it did not quite add up for me. But nevertheless there are those more qualified than me that consider it a masterpiece, so there you are!
The LPO remains the outstanding orchestra on the South Bank - under Vladimir Jurowski it has gone from strength to strength. And its longstanding relationship with Glyndebourne, over 50 years now, has ensured that it remains financially stable. A jewel in London's musical crown........
I am now in Izmir for the next seven days - so there will be lots to report!