London Symphony Orchestra, Gareth Davies (flute), Marta Gardolińska (conductor)

It’s a pity that I cannot review the first half of this concert because it was moved forward half an hour and I was one of about forty folk who were not given notice of this. However, I’m told by musical friends that ‘D’un matin de printemps’ by Lili Boulanger was “lovely” and “charming” and “delicate”, and with the LSO playing, of course it would be. Dalbavie’s Flute Concerto was “very accomplished” and “full of notes”. The audience were certainly very happy as they queued at the bar. I was still rather grumpy.

Perhaps this is the mood needed for Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. The uncompromising first movement, which firmly states the Fate theme, was just what I needed. The brass could have been tighter but the temper was right. The double-basses were really giving it heft leading up to the weighty conclusion that brought spontaneous applause for the first movement from the excited audience. In the second movement I prefer a heavier string sound for Tchaikovsky’s grief or melancholy. The pizzicato Scherzo is always a joy and Gardolińska took it down to almost silent so that the opening crash of the Finale was a happy shock. The pace was certainly ‘al fuoco’, almost lightening speed to match the recent storms! The audience was in raptures.

This jubilant mood was only calmed by the opening strains of Valentin Silvestrov’s ‘Prayer for Ukraine’. It ended very quietly; the strings lowered their instruments; the conductor eventually eased her stance and then, after at least another full bar’s silence, the orchestra relaxed and the applause began. It was a magical moment!

Dome Concert Hall,
19 May 2022
Rating: ★★★★☆
Andrew Connal

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