Concert's blockbuster finale

National Youth Orchestra. Petrenko/Hough, Snape Prom, August 6 To judge from the superlative playing of the National Youth Orchestra at Thursday's Snape Prom, the appointment, as their principal conductor, of the young Russian maestro Vasily Petrenko has been distinctly fortuitous, The NYO's standards are consistently high, but on this occasion there was an inspirational quality which added an extra dimension to their playing.

National Youth Orchestra. Petrenko/Hough, Snape Prom, August 6

To judge from the superlative playing of the National Youth Orchestra at Thursday's Snape Prom, the appointment of the young Russian maestro Vasily Petrenko as their principal conductor has been distinctly fortuitous.

The NYO's standards are consistently high, but on this occasion there was an inspirational quality which added an extra dimension to their playing.

Stephen Hough was the soloist in Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto, the only work in the first half. The commanding opening set the tone for a performance in which both soloist and conductor complimented each other perfectly.


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Hough's playing had breathtaking virtuosity, yet was always alive to the music's poetry, notably in the charming andante semplice, helped here by fine wind solos from the orchestra. The electrifying finale made this performance a hard act to follow. However, there was plenty of dazzling playing in the two orchestral showpieces which made up the second half.

Lutoslawski's music forms part of that great artistic flowering which took place in Poland after the Second Word War. His Concerto for Orchestra dates from 1950 when officialdom still decreed socialist realism to be the norm, yet already Lutoslawski's individual voice is already apparent. Its a magnificent, and justly popular score, and its virtuosic demands the NYO obviously enjoyed to the full.

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The last work, Respighi's Feste Romane is one of the symphonic poems which make up his Roman Trilogy. Not so frequently performed as the other two, possibly because of the vast forces needed, or perhaps because its not such a good work as the other two, nevertheless its a real blockbuster of a piece which provided a magnificent finale.

Frank Cliff

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