Intelligent and heartfelt opening to the Oslo Philharmonic tour
telligent programme of Grieg, Rachmaninov and Mahler. Bucking the recent trend for rather disappointing audiences in Manchester for visiting orchestras, the popular programme was a shrewd choice for the orchestra, particularly with Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski as soloist for Rachmaninov’s second concerto.
After a first movement full of forward-driven angst and brooding darkness, Petrenko and Trpčeski engineered a magically honest slow movement in which pianist and orchestra sang as one. Simplicity was key, with Petrenko offering little more than guidance in the airy, maximally-spacious theme. There was a particularly touching moment of intimate interaction between divisi violas and soloist.The finale immediately stepped into a crisper, more incisive stride. Trpčeski continued to play from an admirable palette of colours, matching thundering power with easy elegance in the softer moments. The ‘big tune’ was handled gently and with minimal sentimentality in its first appearances. After Petrenko smoothly nudged the intensity up through the gears, its final outing was full-blooded and impassioned at last, before a raucous last page. Trpčeski answered the huge cheer with the most touching of encores, a lovely arrangement of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise for solo cellist (the orchestra’s principal, Louisa Tuck) and accompanying piano….