Friday, December 10, 2021

BBC Studio No.1, Maida Vale, London

Tom Borrow (pictured, born in Tel Aviv in 2000, https://www.jamesinvernemusic.com/artist.php?id=tomborrow), gave a particularly thoughtful account of the solo part of the ‘Emperor’ (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5), with some very particular pianissimos and plenty of expressive clarity, the music’s majestic properties secure given Sakari Oramo’s ample tempo for the first movement and the BBCSO’s detailed playing. It says something for Borrow’s personality that his ‘first among equals’ stance, marking him as a collegiate musician, listening and responding, was able to hold the listener’s attention, and nothing was undersold. The slow movement was blissfully spacious – moonlight and palm trees – and the Finale put shape and discrimination above speed and bombast. Oramo’s reputation as a Sibelius authority was nailed back in his Birmingham days and has been further enhanced subsequently with a BBCSO concert cycle. The “cold water” and madrigalian polyphony (suggestive of Palestrina) of Sibelius’s Sixth Symphony (D-minor / Dorian mode; Opus 104) was given with radiance, rhythmic buoyancy, directional certainty, and appreciation that enigmas should be left unexplained so that the mysteries within this Symphony continue to fascinate, not least the first two movements stopping in mid-sentence…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001276p