Dvořák’s Symphonic Variations have never made much of an impression on record for me, but strenuous conducting from Macdonald and vivid woodwind and brass lent the piece a sense of vibrancy and urgency. With initially billed Igor Tchetuev unavailable, Pavel Kolesnikov stood in for Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1. Kolesnikov’s playing sounded a little rigid in the first half of the first movement, but relaxed into the piece gently and gloriously for the more melancholy middle third, with some fun, gleeful pounding to end with too. Elgar’s Enigma Variations were bold, punchy, and frenetic and finely showcased the talents of First Violins Leader Vesselin Gellev and Guest Principal Cellist Steffan Morris in their brief solos.
Concert Hall, Brighton Dome, 11 March 2017