Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events



JURIJ TEMIRKANOV       conductor

SAYAKA SHOJI                   violin

Siena, Italy, Teatro dei Rinnovati, 2012, july 10th

Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, archive photo from 2009, Foto Henning Høholt

SIENA, Italy:  The Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1882, is the oldest Russian orchestra
. Led by conductor Jurij Temirkanov, they gave a memorable concert in Siena, in the program of Settimana Musicale Senese

Jurij Temirkanov is one of the most famous Russian conductors, and in a certain repertory he has almost no competitors
. In the past he was assistant to Evgenij Mravinskji, who previously headed the Saint Petersburg Orchestra for almost half a century. This, together with his collaboration with the greatest russian musicians, not to mention his academic training, has allowed him to have a prestigious career, and to conduct the greatest orchestras in the world.

However it is with the orchestras of his country, and particularly with this one, that he seems to have a particular feeling, due to the common roots and repertoire: their Russian spirit.

In this concert in Siena we are immediatly brought into such atmosphere with the Russian Easter Ouverture, a pleasant descriptive piece written by Nicolaj Rimskij-Korsakov;  with its flow of themes coming from the liturgical orthodox tradition, this is music that shows just from the start the superb expressive possibilities of the orchestra in its main parts.

Čajkovskij’s Symphony nr 5, that occupies the whole second part of the concert, is view by Temirkanov as a deep reflection on the human mind and its fatalistic conflicts, and gets an impressive emphasis in its meanings by the wonderful performance

As this is one of the scores that Temirkanov knows inside out, he exalts its sound power, coulours and  pauses and even the composer’s retreats onto himself.

Very seldom I’ve heard Čajkovskij’s writing achieve such an extraordinary relief, with such intensity and expressivity, so that also the most indifferent listener in the audience was brought to a sincere emotion.

The Orchestra played wonderfully, the strings had a compact line with a peculiar ‘amber’ coulour, all the first parts are skilled soloists: they all would deserve to have their names spelled out if only it were possible to mention them all

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In between these two Russian pieces, we heard Mendelssohn’s famous Violin Concerto op. 64, played with sensitiveness and passion by young Japanese soloist Sayaka Shoji, even if she was rather generical in touch and expressive intentions.

The audience that filled to capacity the Teatro dei Rinnovati in Siena awarded her a very warm success, receiving in return an encore from her, as well as a real triumph to Temirkanov and the Orchestra, that ended the concert with a wonderful encore, yet by Čajkovskij.

Review by Fabio Bardelli

translation from italian to english Bruno Tredicine


Russian Easter Ouverture op. 36



Concert op. 64 for violin and orchestra

(Soloist Sayaka Shoji)



Symphony nr. 5 op. 64





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