Royal Festival Hall, London
Concerts like this defy the starring system. The Philharmonia is a very fine orchestra and Tugan Sokhiev a musicianly conductor. They started with a grave and atmospheric performance of Liadov's The Enchanted Lake, and finished with a tightly focused account of Shostakovich's Fifth symphony.
But it was Ivo Pogorelic's extraordinary account of the Tchaikovsky first piano concerto that sucked up all the oxygen and made this a concert to remember – or possibly forget. He dominated the platform in every way, making absolutely no compromises in inflicting his utterly idiosyncratic version of the Tchaikovsky on audience and orchestra alike. Take it or leave it was his approach. Gallantry awards have been won for less devotion to the cause than poor Sokhiev displayed in trying to keep in touch with his soloist's increasingly unpredictable playing.
Everything about Pogorelic's performance was extreme. Extreme weight in the famous maestoso opening. Extreme lightness of touch, dazzlingly so, in the second movement passage work. Most extreme of all were the tempi. None of it was about pianistic ego in the Lang Lang manner. This was playing that made Glenn Gould seem the embodiment of normality. There were incredible flashes of pianistic genius. But Pogorelic's love of slow speeds, attractive in theory and sometimes in his early records in practice, too, has now become a caricature of itself. The cadenzas, played with an unsettling heaviness, came almost to a complete halt. The opening movement lasted a full half-hour. One felt by turns thrilled, angry, bored, gripped and distressed. A complete one-off evening. I can't wait for next time.
"Our DSO to Go app has not only helped our live webcasts reach tremendous success around the globe, but has been an accessible sales channel for many first-time concertgoers without prior ticket or contribution history."