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RNCM Symphony Orchestra

The Bridgewater Hall, 27 June 2014

Russian soul and all that rigmarole.

Shostakovich’s stirring seventh symphony, the ‘Leningrad’ one, was the centrepiece.  All indefatigable spirit and unswerving endurance yet with plenty of nuance and complexity.  He requires and rewards close attention – let your mind wander once and you miss a lot.

This was one of three Russian works: Stravinsky’s Fireworks had started us off (much too short for me to get a proper handle on) then there had been Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Ryan Drucker splendid on piano.  The latter was very fine, yet later Shostakovich’s subtlety made you doubt that first impression, as though his was the true language of genuine emotion and Tchaikovsky’s just a gross repertoire of conventional gestures.

Of course, this isn’t true but it says something about Shostakovich’s powerful artistry.  He convinces.