Music review: Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Valentin Uryupin
Their closing Rachmaninov Second Symphony cast the conductor and orchestra’s clearly intense relationship on a grander scale. And while there could perhaps have been a little more snarling violence to the rather well-behaved scherzo, it was a grand, sweeping account nonetheless, one that showcased the ensemble’s velvety strings and piquant wind and brass. Its slow movement was tender in its restraint, its finale delivered as great swelling waves of music crashing over the enthusiastic audience.
In between came a very grown-up Shostakovich Second Piano Concerto from Irish pianist Barry Douglas. It might have been written for his pianist son’s graduation concert, but for Douglas and Uryupin, the Concerto’s youthful playfulness hid something far darker. From the snappy, spiky, heavily accented opening, there was a wonderfully menacing, manic edge to their account – put aside somewhat in their caressing slow movement, but returning in the biting, chilly clarity of the finale. Though Douglas’s eagerness to push forward threatened ensemble at times, it was a brilliant, perceptive reading.