Slava works his magic

Reporter: GM
Date published: 05 July 2011

Oldham Symphony Orchestra, Hulme Grammar School.
WEBER’S Overture to his opera Der Freischutz provided a suitably early period opener for the Orchestra’s concert of music from the Romantic era.

With the players brought to heel by their watchful conductor, Richard Waldock, it spoke of the magic and love with a devilish and deadly touch which is the opera’s substance, and gave the orchestra opportunity to display its ability to shine and shrink in colourful,dramatic ways.

It also foreshadowed the drama that was to unfold in the main item of the first half of the programme: the Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor by Tschaikovsky – a work with some difficult pianism for the soloist to contend with, interwoven with the delicate or powerful melodies to be encountered in the course of its three movements.

In this instance the soloist proved more than equal to the demands made upon him. Still very much at the beginning of a career that will surely blossom into something big and of international proportions, the Ukrainian pianist Slava Sidorenko worked his magic at the keyboard.

With enviable technique he controlled both tone and dynamic with a real sense of musical purpose, bringing a new lease of life to what can easily be experienced as an overworked warhorse of a piece.

The great hall seemed happy to resound to the combination of spark-lingly clear and luxuriously rich sounds he conjured up from the comparatively small instrument.

The orchestra provided just what was needed to encourage or restrain this soloist, who has emerged with a glowing reputation from his studies at Manchester’s Royal Northern College Of Music.

The second half of the concert consisted of the Symphony No.6 in D by Dvorák.

This was the first of his symphonies to be widely performed and, although nowhere near as popular as his later symphonies have become, it remains a work to be enjoyed by both players and audience alike for its exuberance and charm which were amply demonstrated in this admirably shaped and vibrant performance.

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