RSNO & Giovanni Sollima ***
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
You could see what Sollima was up to: exaggerating the fluidity of Dvorak’s brooding melodies; injecting extra Bohemian spice into the already hot rhythmic flavourings; hyping it up big time. But all he achieved, even ignoring those moments when his intonation went AWOL, was to force unnatural histrionic distortions on a score that destabilised its soulful integrity.
The sad thing is, Sollima’s flamboyance - he surely has an anarchic streak – is genuine and compelling in the appropriate context. He teamed up with RSNO principal cellist Aleksei Kiseliov in his own showpiece, Violoncellos, vibrez!, a tunefully inoffensive, ultimately pseudo-Glass tribute to his former teacher for cello duo and strings. And what an encore – Jimi Hendrix’s Angel, sliced and diced with virtuosic panache. I’d have settled for these minus the Dvorak.
Sondergård turned things round in a second half featuring the feverish, enigmatic jubilation of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. This was a potent meeting of minds, Sondergård building an electrifying line of communication between the searing notes on the page and their red hot realisation by the RSNO, now operating like a well-oiled machine on turbo boost. Pity the Dvorak was a car crash.