sat 07/12/2019

Kavakos, London Symphony Orchestra, Gergiev, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Kavakos, London Symphony Orchestra, Gergiev, Barbican Hall

Kavakos, London Symphony Orchestra, Gergiev, Barbican Hall

Hard-driven programme from the febrile Russian conductor and a searing violinist

Valery Gergiev: Tchaikovsky in black and whiteAlberto Venzago

Heavy-goods vehicles stacked with lamentations have been thundering through the Barbican Hall. Saturday's lugubrious Rachmaninov found a mid-20th-century counterpart last night in the tough elegies of Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto - apt for a dedication to those affected by the Japanese earthquake. And the tottering juggernaut of not-quite-great-but-living Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin still clogs the LSO's current season, fortunately in this case only to head a procession ending in the carnival float of what should have been Tchaikovsky's springiest symphony.

The high-kicking variations of Tchaikovsky's finale had point and style, but never a moment to breathe or beguile

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