Tchaikovsky from the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14 Concert Package, SoundBite and Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Tuesday 6th May 2014

Symphony Hall

Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Yuri Simonov conductor
Natalie Clein cello

Tchaikovsky Symphonic Poem, Francesca da Rimini 22’
Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 1 28’
Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4 44’

Natalie Clein’s encore – Britten – Cello Suite No 3  – Introduzione: Lento

Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra’s encores! –

Tchaikovsky  – Alla Tedesca from Symphony No 3

Shostakovich – Polka from the Golden Age Ballet

Elgar – Nimrod

Dvořák – Slavonic Dance 10

Dvořák – Slavonic Dance 8

It’s hard to define, but when a Russian orchestra plays Russian music, something very special happens. The Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra is drenched in that tradition, and under veteran Music Director Yuri Simonov, we can expect intensely committed readings of two of Tchaikovsky’s most personal works.

Natalie Clein, meanwhile, is always popular at Symphony Hall: tonight she has near-perfect partners for Shostakovich’s taut political thriller of a cello concerto.



Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Tchaikovsky had been the main element in the programme, beginning with Francesca da Rimini, timbres dark and sombre at the opening, strings leaping and searing under Simonov’s understated beat, and with a sorrowingly searching clarinet narrative. Also remarkable were the splendid cellos, lamenting under fluttering flutes in this wonderful piece.

Even more wonderful is Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, tortured yet determined, and there was much to admire here, with stirring brass, sweeping phrasing and often organ-like chording. Woodwind nuances were delicate, but sometimes overwhelmed by the surging strings, and Simonov’s tempo for the famous pizzicato scherzo was decidedly staid; I think he was trying to make some kind of point, but its relevance escaped me.

Never mind; as a concept this interpretation was shattering.

Interspersed was Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, a work laden with coded messages I am sure, and delivered with unremitting energy and impassioned line-unfolding by soloist Natalie Clein.”     …



Review by Peter Marks, BachTrack:

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…     “Like a good many Russian orchestras, it retains a distinctively Soviet sound albeit with some of the harder edges smoothed out slightly. The portentous opening to Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini featured an upbeat from a particularly full-throated double bass section, highly responsive to Simonov’s gestures. The conductor adopted a statuesque posture throughout Tchaikovsky’s symphonic poem, somehow managing to summon terrifying blasts of sound in climactic moments with only discreet, staccato movements. In this respect, Dante’s Inferno was spectacularly and vividly conjured by Simonov and the orchestra.

Francesca herself was well-represented by a lovely clarinet cadenza, with the ensuing central section providing some much needed relief from the swirling vortices of sound, though hers is a melody laced with melancholy, as might be expected from this composer. The wind soloists of this orchestra were particularly fine, if not always possessing infallible intonation in some of the tutti sections. The brassy peroration featured a notably ‘narrow-bore’ sound and led to a terrifying climax.”     …