One of the likely classical music highlights this month, the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at Colston Hall last Sunday, the first in Bristol for ten years, promised great things. It did not disappoint. The opening item, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 Classical, was a model of elegance and balance, a reflection of the influence of Haydn and Mozart on the composition of the work. Lead by Vassily Sinaisky, Chief Conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the orchestra played impressively throughout, particularly so during the well-executed scalic flourishes towards the end of the final movement.
The LPO was equally impressive in their performance of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2. An extensive and brooding work, the symphony felt perhaps a little too long in relation to the overall length of the programme, but was nevertheless exciting and engaging, thanks both to Sibelius’s inventive orchestration and the fervent work of the conductor. Sinaisky coaxed real drama from the players, producing a stirring Vivacissimo and a magnificent Finale.
Easily the highlight of the concert, however, was Sol Gabetta’s enthralling performance of Elgar’s infamous Cello Concerto. From the striking opening to the equally remarkable ending, the award-winning cellist’s dynamic playing engaged both the audience and orchestra alike. Combining wonderful lyricism and faultless technique, this was a truly exceptional performance of Elgar’s haunting concerto. No surprise then that the young Argentinian’s recording of the great work won her her third Echo Klassik award. Simply stunning.