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Stasevska and the BBC SO’s Sibelius helps make for a vastly satisfying night – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United Kingdom Numerous: Sol Gabetta (cello), BBC Symphony Orchestra / Dalia Stasevska (conductor). Barbican Corridor, London, 21.10.2022. (KMcD)

Dalia Stasevska conducts Sol Gabetta (cello) and the BBC SO © BBC/Sarah Louise Bennett

Iain Farrington – A Occasion with Auntie
Dai Fujikura – Superb Clouds
Elgar – Cello Concerto in E Minor
Sibelius – Symphony No.1 in E minor

After a Complete Immersion weekend devoted to Finland’s most well-known musical son just a few weeks in the past, the BBC SO was again with extra Sibelius beneath its Principal Visitor Conductor, Dalia Stasevska. Being Finnish herself, it is going to come as no shock to be taught that this music is in her blood, which was evident as she guided her gamers by way of an engrossing account of his First Symphony. Usually thought-about to be a pure descendent of Tchaikovsky’s symphonic writing, there are occasional musical nods to his fashion, Sibelius’s soundworld is one which unmistakably depicts a panorama of forests and fjords.

Stasevska by no means allow us to neglect this – from the atmospheric, hushed opening on the timpani, over which a lone clarinet supplies a poignant, chilling lament (fantastically voiced by Richard Hosford), to the dramatic theme on the strings – she charted a course all through the primary motion that was propulsive, but by no means sacrificed element. Within the second motion, which is the one that’s most redolent of Tchaikovsky, she conjured a way of ethereal allure and delicacy.

The Scherzo, with its repetitive, seven-note theme for the timpani (immaculately dealt with by Paul Stoneman) had immense chew, in addition to colossal guts and drive. Equally, the final motion, from its anguished opening to its nihilistic conclusion, was faultlessly paced, and beautifully performed. Perhaps a few Stasevska’s tempo selections erred on the aspect of warning earlier on within the piece, however regardless of this minor quibble, the general affect was fairly devastating – the silence after the music had light into nothingness spoke volumes.

BBC SO carried out by Dalia Stasevska within the Barbican Corridor © BBC/Sarah Louise Bennett

The primary half of the live performance was made up of three contrasting items, one in every of which was a late addition to the programme – Iain Farrington’s A Occasion with Auntie – which was scheduled to obtain its premiere on the Final Night time of the Proms. A musical homage to rejoice the a centesimal anniversary of the BBC, Farrington’s witty romp which blended a collection of tunes from a number of the broadcaster’s extra iconic reveals definitely had aptitude and displayed a lot technical compositional wizardry. Think about a musical model of Leonard Bernstein ordering a pint within the Queen Vic and you wouldn’t be far off the mark. We noticed Animal Magic, Match of the Day, The Antiques Roadshow and EastEnders whirling their approach by way of the counterpoint. This five-minute journey down reminiscence lane definitely put a smile on everybody’s faces.

We have been then handled, if that’s the proper phrase, to the UK premiere of Dai Fujikura’s Superb Clouds, impressed, in line with the programme notes, by the Japanese composer’s fascination with microbiomes – collections of micro organism, viruses and fungi on or within the human physique. An attention-grabbing foundation for a musical composition, the work was made up of some telling blocks of harmonic development, however like so many new works, there was far an excessive amount of reliance on string glissandi. After Final Days at The Royal Opera earlier within the month, which was overflowing with them, composers would possibly take into account giving them a relaxation for some time. Regardless of this, the BBC SO performed the complicated rating unflinchingly.

Sol Gabetta was the soloist in Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and usually delivered an impassioned and immaculate interpretation of what’s arguably one of the vital common cello concertos within the repertoire. As soon as previous some hesitancy at the beginning – each she and Stasevska appeared reluctant to get beneath the pores and skin of this nice work – her enjoying blossomed and the synergy between the 2 of them was palpable. Did she handle to mine all of the emotional sides of the work? Perhaps not, besides that didn’t detract from a efficiency that highlighted her very good approach and formidable interpretative powers.

All in all, this was a vastly satisfying night – made memorable by an awesome efficiency of Sibelius’s First Symphony.

Keith McDonnell

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