Wednesday, March 21, 2012

REVIEW: Rozhdestvensky, Postnikova and HKPO

Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Saturday March 17

The octogenarian conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky brought out an HKPO that I don’t think I have ever heard before. To be honest, I was not so sure of what to expect. Rozhdestvensky was in Hong Kong in 2009, but I had to give up my ticket due to work; and even though I have lots f his recordings, a live performance with him at age 80 can be quite different. The sound reminded me of a singer singing her heart out; the sound may not be perfect but because it was heartfelt, one simply submit oneself to the experience. HKPO was full on and sounded immense and round. The details may neither be entirely clean nor clear, but the atmosphere was undeniably electrifying!

The evening opened with original version of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Viktoria Postnikova, wife of Rozhdestvensky, was in her elements. It was not very difficult to appreciate Postnikova’s pianism in this concerto as Tchaikovsky’s intersperse of cadenza-like passages for piano was substantial and Postnikova made the most out of it. She was strong and straight-forward in the first movement and played with great warmth in the finale. The second movement beautifully showed off Rozhdestvensky and Postnikova’s understanding of chamber dynamics and the result was mesmerizing. Concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich and pricipal cellist Richard Bamping lived up to the occasion producing gorgeous solos. Above all, it was Postnikova’s emotional breadth and depth that made her performance outstanding and it was deservedly met with tremendous applause. Postnikova’s gracious encore of Tchaikovsky’s Autumn Song (from The Seasons) didn’t only maintain the all-Tchaikovsky programme but also provided an elegant lacquer to the first half.

Manfred Symphony Op. 58 opened the second half. Rozhdestvensky’s Manfred was out and out to portray a person in great despair. The vision of idealized love in the first movement surfaced with great tenderness while the anguish was dramatic. The mysterious apparitions in the second movement shimmered with clarity. Rozhdestvensky’s redition of the vintage Tchaikovsky melody in the third movement was shamelessly gorgeous. The “phantom” organ in the fourth movement magnified the infernal aspects without its intensity creeping into the serenity of the ending. Overall, it was an immensely rewarding and unforgettable evening. Thank you Rozhdestvensky, Postnikova and HKPO!
Rozhdestvensky, The Legend
16&17-3-2012 Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No.2 (original version)
TCHAIKOVSKY: Manfred Symphony

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, conductor
Viktoria Postnikova, piano

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At March 21, 2012 at 2:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You nailed it!!!!!!!!!!!

At March 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

WOW! Thank you!


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