tue 25/06/2024

Liu, RLPO, Iorio, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool | reviews, news & interviews

Liu, RLPO, Iorio, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Liu, RLPO, Iorio, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Too much Einaudi redeemed by Respighi and Bernstein

Ludovico Einaudi: a little goes a long wayRay Tarantino

A double dose of Einaudi may not be the best programming idea. A world premiere in the first half and then a UK premiere in the second part of the concert was, perhaps, overegging the musical recipe. But add to that some Respighi and some Bernstein, with conductor Damian Iorio in charge, and things turned out not so bad after all.

Ludovico Einaudi’s Domino for piano and orchestra was another commission by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to mark their 175th anniversary. It is a three-movement piece: a slow, lugubrious introduction which led – and who would know? – into an andante (subtitled, perhaps rather oddly, at a walking pace with movement) and then a maestoso (again, subtitled, this time with majesty). It is his first piano concerto and it respects the traditional three movement pattern. Despite the fact that Einaudi often plays his own pieces, this work was premiered by pianist Ji Liu. No bad thing, really.

Damian IorioHow did he cope? The first movement was competent, the second dull, but it did come to life in the finale, especially in the cadenza before the finale. That, if anything, saved the piece. Liu’s playing was competent, clever and, for the most part, witty. It was a shame that the piece, overall, was so disappointing. An opening which failed to develop the major themes, an andante which was hopelessly repetitive and a finale which really did not take off and seriously failed to capitalise on the first two movements.

And then there was more. Wetlands was premiered in China in 2013 and is a decent background piece of music. The main thing is that nothing much happens. There’s little development, there are few key changes, nothing goes on. Pleasant but undemanding.

So, what else did the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Iorio (pictured above by Annalise Photography) produce? A stunning performance of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story as well as a seriously competent interpretation of Respighi’s Church Windows. The latter was exciting, dramatic, thoughtful and introspective. It’s hard to think of all those adjectives imposed onto one performance but this was it. Iorio coaxed a great deal out of the RLPO and it worked. This was a stunning performance, too, of the Bernstein Symphonic Dances. Here was the RLPO in real party mood, making a huge sound, really letting their collective hair down and having a great time. A stunning end to what was, really, not the best programme we’ve heard on Hope Street.

There’s little development, there are few key changes, nothing goes on


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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