Concert reviews: Vasily Petrenko conducts Berlioz, Rachmaninoff & Elgar/Brahms, 21 & 22 February 2014

The London Philharmonic Orchestra gave three concerts this weekend, at London's Royal Festival Hall, Brighton Dome and Eastbourne's Congress Theatre. The Orchestra, under conductor Vasily Petrenko, performed Berlioz's Le Corsaire Overture, Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Kirill Gerstein, and Elgar's Symphony No. 2 (in London) and Brahms's Symphony No. 2 (in Brighton and Eastbourne).

Here are the press reviews ...

'Petrenko brought an expansive slant [to the Elgar], the opening movement more a noble, even burdened and reluctant, release than an impulsive coiled spring, the slower episodes reflected in tranquillity. But Petrenko didn't lose the musical threads let alone the argument, for the articulation lengthened naturally, if daringly. Somehow, we were all with the conductor, as was the LPO, for the flexibility breathed as one.'
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 22 February 2014

'One of Petrenko's great strengths as a conductor lies with the sharpness of his characterisation. It was there in spades for Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini where wit and wiliness take the old variation form to great heights of ingenuity, soloist and orchestra conspiring to surprise and amaze in equal measure.'
Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk, 22 February 2014

'Vasily Petrenko promised us a romantic early Spring concert but his interpretation of Berlioz's Overture Le Corsaire had all the heat of summer. What a stunning Brighton debut! We were fully energised for Gerstein's powerful rendition of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Petrenko, with elfin grace and a hypnotically expressive left hand, kept the orchestra back, just adding colour to the piano, which allowed them to give so much more for the magnificent big tunes and climaxes.' (5 stars)
Andrew Connal, The Latest, 23 February 2014