The Telegraph reviews the opening season concert with the Philharmonia and Esa Pekka Salonen in London

“The London orchestras are vying with each other to make the biggest splash at the season’s beginning, and the Philharmonia’s was mightily impressive. It was cunningly contrived as a huge crescendo, opening with tiny sounds right on the edge of audibility, and ending with riotous D major jubilation.

“The tiny sounds came from …quasi una fantasia… an infinitely sad, gentle sifting of musical echoes of the past, composed by Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag in 1987. Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes dropped slow descending scales into the silence, while around him, a scattering of instrumentalists added muffled hesitant echoes, laced with the enticingly strange sounds of mouth-organs, marimba, and cimbalom. At the back, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen directed with hieratic impassivity.

“After this almost funereal mournfulness, Leif Ove Andsnes returned as the soloist in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. Chronologically this took us back almost two hundred years, but emotionally it was like being jerked back into the present tense. Andsnes was a wonderful soloist, musing and delicate in the slow movement, rumbustious in the outer movements, but in a way that respected the music’s essentially Mozartian frame. Some pianists underline the astonishing samba-like moment in the finale with overt syncopations, but Andsnes did it much more subtly, by highlighting the dancing bass beneath.”

Source: Daily Telegraph

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