MTT and Yuja Wang – paired with the LSO – that should certainly make for an interesting evening – throw in a programme of Brahms and Nielsen – the perfect mix!After missing MTT on my trip to San Fran last year I was specifically looking to see what concerts he was doing here in London. Whilst I was tempted to book my ticket to see him at the Proms I remembered that he was also at the Barbican. That made the decision easier and the ticket was booked.
I haven’t seen the LSO in a while as I tend to avoid concert conducted by Gergiev due to a very negative experience in 2015, even though I do like the LSO.
Last time I heard Brahms 2nd piano concerto was in NYC with the NY Phil und Gilbert with Emmanuel Ax giving a beautiful performance. So I was very excited to see a pianist at the other end of the spectrum perform the same piece… and what a delight it was! Wang is know for ruffling a few feathers in the classical music world – not only because of her outfits! Hats of for playing in those heels – I know how tricky it can be but she definitely is a pro in pedalling in stilettos. The energy between MTT and Wang was a pleasure to witness – not much was needed, you could feel the mutual connection to the music. Her interpretation of the Brahms was very lyrical yet poignant and precise, time and place could easily be forgotten. It is great to see such young talent leaving such positive feelings with everyone after the performance finishes… I am certainly going to see her again as soon as I can!
The second half of the concert saw one of my favourite composers on the programme: Nielsen Symphony No5. I can’t tell how much I love his symphonies – I probably know every note by now as I have listened to them countless times – all 7 on repeat on transatlantic flights….. there is a mystical quality in Nielsens composing paired with a unique intensity it does make for a great listen! Here again the connection between MTT and the LSO could be felt – a tension in the air. With very clear conducting it was seemed so easy for MTT to just get magic out of the orchestra. By no means the score can be easy and the rhythms are challenging but that makes the piece even more interesting… with its military references within the percussion section this symphony gives on the chills – but in a good way. This perfect mismatch of harmonies and melodies was executed so perfectly that the end of the symphony left you reeling…. the lady next to me was in tears. The intensity was just so remarkable and MTT keep the tension and momentum going through the whole piece which can be tricky. Absolutely stunning performance!