Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rachmaninov (lots of)

We went to the Bridgewater Hall on Thursday to hear an all Rachmaninov concert. I wanted mainly to hear the 3rd concerto - never heard it at a live concert (obviously excluding broadcasts) - though I seem to remember the college rehearsal orchestra may have performed it - with Nick Redding in spite of his piano teacher issuing an interdict - but it was a long time ago.
This week's concert consisted of the Vocalise, 3rd concerto and 3rd symphony, a little nervous whether I could handle so much romanticism! Cristian Mandeal, Nikolai Demidenko and the Halle.
No reviews on the internet so far that I've found - let me give a few impressions. Not sure whether it's where we were sitting - side circle - but much of the 1st movement of the concerto descended, as far as the piano part was concerned, into a high-class mush, with at one point a mis-hit A(?) emerging from the gloom. By the time he got to the cadenza, the balance problems - or whatever it was - seemed to have been sorted and the rest of the work was rather more involving - even to the bronchial audience participation which seemed to kick in at that point!
Demidenko played an encore I couldn't identify, Chopin arranged by Rachmaninov? - if it was I couldn't identify the original, lots of hand crossing and much feux-follet style fireworks. Kelvin suggested the Polka de [VW]R but no it wasn't that.
I don't know the 3rd symphony well wasn't too taken my it, lots of SR trademarks recycled, slavic sighing and rather more effect than (I thought) substance. Looks like we'll be walking near the Villa Senar where this was written this summer, I'll try to walk by! Interesting that the programme note highlighted similarities between the finale and that of the Walton 1st - both of which were written in the 30's and in both cases the composer had a block before he was able to complete the finale.
Before the concert, some hurried rearrangement, as our normal pre-concert restaurant appears to have disappeared! We'd arranged to meet outside so a quick move to another eating location!

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