Magazine article Musical Opinion

Moscow Philharmonic: Usher Hall

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Moscow Philharmonic: Usher Hall

Article excerpt

It is said that Simonov's orchestra is the best orchestra in the Russian capital, and on this hearing it appears this is no false news - this conductor has spent many years in honing the orchestra's unique sound quality. Against the grain for international conductors today Simonov prefers to spend his time with his own orchestra rather than globetrotting the world. Simonov was the youngest chief conductor at the Bolshoi (at the age of 29) and introduced Mozart for the first time there and brought back Wagner in his 17-year spell. He was offered the music directorship of the LSO but couldn't accept owing to incon - gruities with the Soviet authorities. In charge of the MPO for almost 20 years Simonov has re-established them as a world-class orchestra. Like his mentor Mravinsky he craves the music-making process of the live concert. The perf - ormance here of his own arrangement of the Romeo and Juliet suites from Prokofiev's ballet was the centre-piece of this remarkable concert on January 22. He made this a symphonic work bringing out all the drama and pungent musicality; one was drawn to Simonov's hands sculpting the music in the most balletic and dramatic fashion. Every movement wit - nessed instant and subtle response from his musicians, the wind players, solos from violin and cello and indeed the finest display from a timpanist heard for a long time. Each and every member of the MPO is a virtuoso yet this seventy-six-year-old maestro welded the music-making into a single instrument fashioning the most glorious sound imaginable. …

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