London Philharmonic Orchestra


London Philharmonic Orchestra,

Congress Theatre, Eastbourne,

13 October 2013

Giancarlo Guerrero is not a conductor I have seen before, but judging by his performance this afternoon, I would love to do so again.

He led an inspired performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony which allowed the orchestra to be responsible for themselves on many occasions, and showed an immense love of the music and a trust in his musicians. The first movement brought some delicate, gentle phrasing and a fine control of dynamic, but it was the third movement which brought everything to life.

From my position close to the celli I was aware of his facial gestures. In this pizzicato third movement he gave up conducting with his hands or baton, relying on occasional lifted eyebrows or pursed lips to achieve just the right nudge for the strings. It was highly entertaining but also musically entrancing. There was even a point at which he looked at his watch – was Tchaikovsky really repeating that phrase again?

Then the final movement released the energy which had been held in before. He shaped the paragraphs of the music with his whole body and brought the afternoon to a stunning climax.

I do hope we see him again.

Rustem Hayroudinoff was the soloist in Chopin’s second piano concerto which was impressive, but not as much as his encore. A study for the left hand alone, if I had not seen his static right hand I would have refused to believe my ears. This was music-making of the highest quality.

The afternoon had opened with a suite from Carmen. Though well played it seemed a rather too obviously popular choice as an opening filler and we could have done with something a little more substantial. BH

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