Kirill Petrenko conducts Beethoven and Elgar
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor (00:44:28)
Lars Vogt Piano
Symphony No. 2 (00:54:20)
Kirill Petrenko and Lars Vogt in conversation with Sarah Willis (00:08:14)
Following Kirill Petrenko’s debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2006 with works by Rachmaninov and Bartók was met with unanimous enthusiasm from audience, press and the orchestra alike, the Russian conductor’s second appearance was keenly anticipated. This time, the programme did not include any works from Petrenko’s Russian homeland, but Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto and Edward Elgar’s Second Symphony: An ideal constellation for a conductor who not only brings out new aspects in familiar repertoire, but is also a convincing champion for rarities.
Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, sitting precisely in the middle of his five contributions to the genre, is also the only one of this group which is in a minor key. The orchestral introduction to the first movement is correspondingly serious, followed by a Largo of meditative beauty. In the final movement, the composer moves the rondo theme with an ingenious shortened variation to a major key and provides the work with an irresistible finale. The soloist was Lars Vogt who was the Philharmoniker’s Pianist in Residence in the 2003/2004 season.
Before this concert, the last time the orchestra played Elgar’s second and final symphony was in 1972. As the welcoming applause continues, Petrenko signals the upbeat to a work that the composer himself described as the “pilgrimage of a soul”. Momentum and spirit, seriousness and humour characterise this work which, at the end of around an hour, fades into peaceful tranquility. A work in which Elgar succeeds in creating a synthesis of complexity of form and thematic cogency.