Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Concert Hall, Helsinki Music Centre, Mannerheimintie 13 A, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
In the absence of a short work to open (maybe Sibelius’s Karelia Overture to complement the Klami), it was left to Yeol Eum Son to get things started with a crescendo of non-arpeggiated chords to launch Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto for a romantically flexible performance, expressive and impassioned, she and Dima Slobodeniouk in accord, he drawing warmth and detail from the Finnish Radio SO and accommodating her indulging the moment, persuasively so in the first movement and most successful in the slow one, love hanging in the air, enigmatically, and brought to a head with excitement and resolution in the Finale. Although Slobodeniouk let cymbal clashes be too noisy, and the piano’s top notes lacked sparkle, this was a nicely mixed reading of ardour, reflection, and arrival, the apotheosis cued by a powerful timpani stroke. For an extra, Yeol Eum Son gave Rachmaninov’s G-minor Prelude, Opus 32/12 (the last of his Twenty-Four), with ink-still-wet freshness.
The Oceanides – Sibelius’s musical painting of dancing nymphs while suggesting the mysteries of the deep, something lurking below, swelling here to a leviathan-like climax – was paired with the five-movement Kalevala Suite by Uuni Klami (1900-61), colourful and descriptive music, suspenseful, dramatic, idyllic, playful, clangorous, if not necessarily consistent in quality, yet engaging the listener more often than not. Slobodeniouk (with and without baton) lavished much attention on it and received a dedicated response from the FRSO.
A super concert. I wish I could be there. Thanks Col.
Recently the LPO changed Dima’s concert in London from the Lemminkainen Suite to the Second Symphony with no explanation.
My heart fell. We hear this symphony often in London but the Suite, the best orchestral work before the First Symphony, is a rarity.
As it turned out Dima did full justice to the Second, indeed it was a splendid performance.
Fingers crossed for the return of the rogue, Lemminkainen soon.
Edward, you can see the concert on the above link; Finnish Radio Symphony concerts remain viewable in the archive. Col