Pietari Inkinen and The Prague Symphony Orchestra have earned praise for their November 2019 UK tour. The 7-concert tour, produced by IMG Artists, featured two programmes from the orchestra under their Chief Conductor Inkinen: Mahler’s magnificent Third Symphony (with mezzo-soprano Ester Pavlů) in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Basingstoke and Gateshead; and in Bradford and Nottingham, Smetana’s Overture and Three Dances from The Bartered Bride, Martinů’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (Laura Van der Heijden as soloist) and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”.
“A triumph. Inkinen had every detail of this huge work perfectly in perspective and allowed it to unfold beautifully in the generous acoustic of the hall, with star turns all over the place. The nine horns of the orchestra were as one from the start, the solo trombone majestic, and Mahler’s often unusual combinations of single instruments in the epic first movement could not have been clearer. In the two pictorial movements that follow, the cinematic heritage of this orchestra was evident (it features on many a soundtrack album), and the dialogue between the offstage trumpet and the band’s brilliant, slightly eccentric, first horn, a microcosm of that.
“As the heart-searing instrumental hymn to divine love was passed around the strings from the cellos in the finale, it was clear that, had it happened three months earlier, this was a concert that would undoubtedly have been a highlight of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival programme.”
The Guardian’s Rian Evans writes of “star asset Inkinen,” that his “command of the symphony’s overall architectural span was implicit in the slow finale, the music’s extraordinarily expressive intensity now unfolding with the same careful control as had the opening, climactic without ever having been bombastic.”
The Scotsman’s Susan Nickalls notes that, “With meticulous precision they revealed the architecture of each of the six movements as well as the overall emotional journey of the work, no easy task given the vast universes Mahler packs into his symphonies.
“Part one began with the horns calling over the faint timpani heartbeats, leading the orchestra on a series of marches, some more sombre than others, before exploring the flora and fauna of the natural world in the next two movements. There was plenty of stylish swagger in the series of minutes as the orchestra moved with alacrity between the frequently changing time-signatures then meandered through the restless scherzo, complete with hunting calls from an off-stage flugelhorn.”