The London Philharmonic
Grand Palace Hall
Messiaen : "L'Ascension”
Ravel : Concerto for piano and orchestra in G major
Prokofiev : Symphony no. 5 in B flat major op. 100
Benedetto Lupo (piano),
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
For his first Bucharest evening concert the Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski proposed a program entirely dedicated to music composed in the last century, between 1931-1945: Messiaen, Ravel, Prokofiev. It was a temerary act – taking into account the selectivity of the Romanian public in accepting contemporary works - but a truly worthwhile initiative, crowned by a brilliant success. 4500 spectators, a large proportion of them young, burst in ovations at the end of the concert, full of enthousiasm for the music, the performance of the conductor and his celebrated London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Vladimir Jurowski conducts the ensemble with large dimensioning movements. Being young, he does not refrain himself– and it is very good –in his temptation for the instrumental tumult, where the peaks and the major moments are impulsed or underlined by close-fisted gestures (like a „straight left hit" as in pugilistic terms) or with the palm edge splitting the air (“karateka!”).
Clearly, Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony was especially generous in giving - with appropriate results. A lecture of grandeur, sustained by an ensemble with a remarkable balance between the compartments and impressive talents and capabilities in tutti.
For me, at least, the legend of the famous brass section of the London orchestras especially this one was shaken a bit. The debut section of the symphonic suite L’Ascension by Olivier Messiaen did not profit from any perfect entrances of the brass. An ear infinitesimally fine could hear even little failures. Nevertheless their performance improved, the “golden" instrumentalists regaining their great shape towards the second part of the evening, where the symphony was waiting for them. Upon unending applause from an enthousiastic public, Jurowski and London Philharmonic offered very attractive pages: Valse and March from the operas War and Peace and Love for Three Oranges by Sergei Prokofiev, respectively.
Meeting Benedetto Lupo, the soloist of the Concerto for piano and orchestra in G major by Maurice Ravel was a very pleasant surprise. A virtuoso artist, an excellent technician, with a beautiful touch put in evidence by the syncopated pages of the score. He chose for the encore the difficult Alborada del gracioso by Ravel and interpreted it with refinement and rich of colour.