The evergreen Peter Donohoe

Peter Donohoe/LPO/Orozco-Estrada, Southbank Centre

 

The London Philharmonic are now embarked on a year-long musical journey through the twentieth century, using Stravinsky as their focus: works from previous eras are woven in, insofar as they reflect Stravinsky’s enthusiasms. Hence, in this concert, Carl Maria von Weber’s Konzertstück in F minor for piano and orchestra, whose dandyish virtuosity he greatly admired. Now looking a dead ringer for the mature Brahms, Peter Donohoe was the pianist in the starring role here, and one couldn’t have wished for a better advocate for this convivially flamboyant work – with flying hands, and turning on a sixpence between jewelled delicacy and swashbuckling force, he carried the performance with benign authority.

Peter Donohoe (c) Sussie AhlburgPeter Donohoe ©Sussie Ahlburg

Then he came back as soloist in Stravinsky’s Capriccio for piano and orchestra, which had been the composer’s tribute to von Weber. This work took off like a rocket, with abrupt and angular outbursts from both soloist and orchestra which recalled the German composer, but inhabiting a sound-world of super-bright, heightened reality which was Stravinsky’s through and through. After presiding over this work like an affable MC, Donohoe then gave an encore with feline force: Stravinsky’s Tango, abrupt and angular again, but shot through with mischievous cross-rhythms.

The other Stravinsky work in the programme was Apollon Musagète, and here guest-conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada – whose movement on the podium was quintessentially terpsichorean – led the strings of the LPO in a sweetly-singing account of this loveliest of all neo-classical ballets.

★★★★

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