The Sage Gateshead, Hall One
GRIEG Piano Concerto in A minor
Rory McDonald: Conductor
Brahms: Fantasies No. 1 in D minor
In the Press
“Ravel’s Concerto in G takes us to completely different worlds. From that suggestive, almost hypnotic evocation of Debussy, we move on to a piece full of vitality, smiles, light-heartedness and, as its author intended, fun. Exultant fun from beginning to end, with hardly any respite, barely in the second movement, which never ceases to smile charmingly, albeit in a calmer way. Music that fits like a glove to the vitalistic nerve of the French maestro, who put all the rhythmic voltage into a vibrant accompaniment for the Russian soloist Denis Kozhukhin, who in turn demonstrated his excellent level once again.
As has been appreciated on previous occasions, the Russian’s sound is beautiful and has sufficient presence, although it does not dazzle. He shades beautifully and handles the pedal with general restraint, only occasionally overstepping that balance. He translated the fast-paced score apolloniously and with impeccable momentum, with a good dose of panache and fantasy, very successful realisation of the music’s jazzy resonances, and enviable intensity, connecting very well with the baton in a reading in which the rhythmic energy shone through.”