Maestro Alexander Vedernikov made an “impressive” (The Times) BBC Proms debut, leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra and pianist Stephen Hough in an all-Russian programme at Royal Albert hall on 23rd August.
BachTrack’s Mark Pullinger writes that the audience “rarely gets as convincing a performance,” as that of Vedernikov and the orchestra, with The Times’ Anna Picard noting that, “The Prokofiev offered a cynical swell of cinematic effects: violent shrieks and glares of high woodwind and brass; a sickly gauze of muted strings; bell-like doubling of clarinets and harp; predatory footsteps from the bass; and eerie glissandi.”.
“Vedernikov found the demon in the music and also its eerie beauty, effectively discovering an equilibrium between construction, motifs and mechanics against expression that twists slimily, erupts and hits hard.
In satisfying symphonic largesse and in also suggesting a spectacular production (he has conducted the opera) Vedernikov confirmed the greatness of this score – the first movement grippingly edgy and with an assaultive climax, then the slow movement touched the heart darkly, the third with its (almost aleatoric) slithering in the strings became nightmarish and was barely relieved by the central section’s shadowy lyricism, and the Finale, launched attacca to really underline the last two movements’ closeness to one another, and punctuated by a warning bell, built to a slamming coda.”
Stephen Hough performed Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The Independent’s Michael Church says, “Vedernikov’s sensitive conducting allowed every note from the piano to impinge delicately.”