NOTTINGHAM PHILHARMONIC Albert Hall -Peter Palmer The Nottingham Philharmonic have long been an orchestra to be reckoned with, but on Saturday there were signs that American guest conductor Kenneth Woods could give a new dimension to their playing.
Technically, there is little the NPO are incapable of. One need only mention the tricky accompaniments to the Scherzo of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, or the concerted acceleration to conclude the first movement of Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony.
Kenneth Woods briefly talked us through the symphony, explaining how it both resembled and differed from Beethoven. He conducted sometimes with a longish stick, sometimes simply using his hands. His combination of vital detail with the broad view was impressive. Sibelius’s masterpiece got a worthy performance.
Finlandia, the evening’s opener, was judiciously paced too, in a manner that brought out the music’s nobility. More domestic in nature was an endearing arrangement of Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, from Grieg’s Lyric Pieces.
Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is nothing if not dramatic. Prokofiev dedicated it to the memory of a student friend whose suicidal pistol shot is suggested towards the close. Young Australian soloist Daniel de Borah was as persuasive in the first movement’s long monologue as in the finale’s swings between explosive and elegiac.
A concert to stir and delight.
Nottingham Philharmonic: Review
From the Nottingham Evening Post