Classical review: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

IN THIS all-Russian programme, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, with their inimitable conductor Yuri Simonov, gave a brilliant performance of familiar works, alongside those not often played in the concert hall.

Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra - Usher Hall, Edinburgh


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As an opener, the extracts from Tchaikovsky’s sumptuously scored The Sleeping Beauty were an ideal vehicle to show off the orchestra’s rich, fulsome sound which included punchy brass and bright strings topped by rippling harp runs.

There was a complete change of mood in Shostakovitch’s Cello Concerto No 1 in E Flat, with the accompanying string and woodwind sections creating a tense backdrop.

From the opening DSCH note theme, spelling out the composer’s initials, soloist Natalie Clein immersed herself completely in the emotional fabric of this evocative work.

There was a hunted feel to her relationship with the orchestra, especially in the starker passages where the cello is shadowed by the horn.

Clein’s winning technique and approach that was both fierce and tender, made for a searingly beautiful performance.

Her encore, the Introduction from Britten’s Cello Suite No 3, was fitting given that it was dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovic who premiered Shostakovich’s concerto back in 1959.

Whilst Rachmaninov’s piano concertos get regular airings, the symphonies haven’t enjoyed the same exposure. His magnificent Symphony No 3 in A Minor was a revelation in the hands of the gifted Simonov who coaxed a sure-footed and stirring interpretation from the orchestra.

Unashamedly romantic, the symphony’s shimmering textures, soaring melodies and jazz-infused rhythms had all the glitz of a Hollywood film score.

Seen on 25.05.14