The concerto was Rachmaninov Two, the soloist the much-loved Simon Trpceski (apparently making his first visit to the hall), playing with a confident rubato and empathy with his collaborators. This was a joint triumph for pianist and orchestra (full-throated strings, eloquent woodwind), Trpceski bringing warmth as well as glitter to rippling passage-work, and always a freshly-minted response to this well-worn work.
Applause from a packed auditorium came in huge waves, rewarded with a lovely encore, Trpceski modestly accompanying cello principal Louisa Tuck in Rachmaninov’s poignant little Vocalise.
Petrenko drew a tight, compact sound from the OPO for Mahler’s mighty Fifth Symphony. Strings dug deep, and the brass soloists (horn, trumpet, trombone), so important throughout this work laden with symbolic imagery, were a constantly commanding presence.
While never losing grip over the overall span, Petrenko gave us plenty of delicacy and detail along the way, including a naturally expressive adagietto, finding exactly the right tempo, and securing a telling harp presence….