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Orchestral excesses redeemed by graceful Elgar - Young cellist offers valuable balance in a hard-driven programme

02.24.18
Andreas Brantelid
The Arts Desk

By Gavin Dixon

“The London Philharmonic, conductor Vasily Petrenko and cellist Andreas Brantelid are just back from a tour of China, so they’ve had plenty of time to get to know each other. That affinity is apparent in the ease with which Petrenko the orchestral forces, directly transmitting his trademark energy to every section. But the highlight of this concert turned out to be the Elgar Cello Concerto, given a far more intimate and low-key reading than we might expect from Petrenko himself. No doubt, Brantelid was the inspiration here, but Petrenko adapted well, skilfully adapting the orchestral balance to accommodate the cellist.

… From the opening bars of the Elgar, it was clear that Andras Brantelid was going to diverge from the norm. In a concerto usually performed in a sweeping, Romantic style, discreet gestures and classical grace might seem untoward. Those broken chords that open the work were here presented at moderate dynamic, and with little gesture or flamboyance. And this turned out to be the way with Brantelid’s entire interpretation. The approach worked best in the scherzo second movement, which danced gracefully under Brantelid’s light bow. The slow movement had a chamber-like elegance, its large scale maintained, even at this lower temperature, by impressively sustained lines from the soloist and the orchestral strings.”

Read the rest of the review here.