Nationalism was at the heart of the London Philharmonic Orchestra concert at the
on Saturday. The Dvorak Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov Symphony No 3 are defined by vigorous Czech folk dances and plangent Russian melodies, although Carl Neilsen’s impressionist Pan And Syrinx owed more to Greek mythology than any obvious Danish tradition.
Conductor Osmo Vanska led with physical energy, if a certain rush. For so large an orchestra, the London Philharmonic are superbly flexible, a mighty force capable of playing with subtle delicacy and superb ensemble. They are a spectacle in themselves - dramatic, elastic and colourful, exciting to watch as well as to hear. Soloist in the Dvorak Violin Concerto was Christian Tetzlaff, a truly astonishing virtuoso whose brilliant, charming performance remained a servant of the music. He was persuaded to play a solo encore, rare tribute in the middle of a programme.
Rachmaninov’s 3rd Symphony, 1936, unnerved early listeners who expected the romantic tradition of his piano music, and disappointed critics who found it insufficiently progressive. It has become more familiar and bravura performances by the LPO will win it more friends, but I struggled a little.