Prom 41 Wednesday 17 August 2022

Julia Pascal


Maurice Ravel’s La Valse-choreographic poem was quite new to me.  It is wonderful and at 12 minutes far too short.  Ravel and his friend Marcelle Meyer played it to Serge Diaghilev in a two -piano version in 1920.  Diaghilev turned it down as a ballet work.  It was heard in its full orchestral form last night and it is a mixture of sweet waltz and disturbing discordance.  Diaghilev was a genius but here, he was quite wrong.

The star of the evening was Behzod Abduraimov in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.  1 in C major, Op.15.  The sound he creates in this much loved Concerto is sensational.  If you shut your eyes you might think that four hands were playing the piano not two.

Delicacy and muscularity come easy to this star.  At one moment the engaging BBC Scottish Symphony’s conductor, Thomas Dausgaard, stood above the pianist and the two had such a symbiosis in their performance that they seemed almost to be one.

Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 ‘Sinfonia espansiva’ (1910-1911) is a work that is critically admired.  However, I found it difficult to penetrate or to enjoy.  Whereas Ravel and Beethoven affect the brain and the heart, Nielsen’s symphony feels merely cerebral.

Julia Pascal © 2022.