As part of a season of concerts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, appeared at the Brighton Dome on the 8th November to perform two of Tchaikovsky’s lesser-known works.
The first half of the concert featured the epic Concerto 2 in G for Piano and Orchestra with Viktoria Postnikova on piano. The concerto lasted approximately fifty minutes long and is consequently frequently played in abridged performances; tonight’s show, however, featured the full concerto and it was Postnikova’s virtuosic and highly expressive playing that vindicated this decision, the performance demanding attention throughout causing concert hall etiquette to be broken on several occasions with audible gasps above the November coughs and enthusiastic clapping in between movements. Although, considering the length of the piece, the first movement itself could easily have been mistaken for the entire concerto. A perfectly synchronised dialogue between cello and violin in the second movement prevented Postnikova from stealing the limelight entirely but the first half belonged to her without any question.
After a 20 minute interval, offering ample time for a complimentary drink from the student NOISE bar, the second half began showcasing the slightly more familiar Suite 3 in G for Orchestra. The frequent time changes and dizzying polonaise rhythms made this a perfect accompaniment to the warm feeling that comes with indulging in gratuitous drinks but it is testament to Postnikova’s extraordinary piano playing that the real triumph of the night was the less familiar, slightly self-indulgent, mammoth of a piano concerto.
Rozhdestvensky was also fantastic, conducting at times with just his head, at other times with simple convulsive waves up and down his diminutive frame, but mostly with longer arm sweeps than you would expect from a man of his size. Certainly, Rozhdestvensky held the role of style icon and managed to visually upstage the whole orchestra including the violist at the front who went to great pains to look…well…pained.