The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, conducted by Ryan McAdams, enjoyed a successful collaboration at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver with a fresh and exciting program of Russian and Spanish tunes.
Just a few days after the appearance of Lang Lang with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on the stage of the Orpheum Theater, another talented young pianist, Yevgeny Sudbin, played Tchaikovsky´s Piano Concerto No.1, as part of a concert focused in the Russian repertoire which included as well Stravinsky´s Symphony in Three Movements and works of Mussorgsky and Ravel.
The event started with the Introduction of Khovantchina, an opera composed (but not finished) by Modest Mussorgsky after the completion of his masterpiece Boris Godunov. The work, entitled Dawn at the Moskva River, was a splendid opening for the soiree, and the medium paced tempo set the tone for the rest of the concert.
Yevgeny Sudbin then joined the VSO, led by the American conductor Ryan McAdams, and played the well-known Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1. In spite of a rather muddied beginning, with somewhat hesitant phrasing in the first movement, the pianist exhibited brilliant moments in the second with an inspired cadence and his delicate and instinctive phrasing. The piano did not help the artist. It sounded too woody with some unpleasant tones mainly in the lower range. Still Mr. Sudbin was able to display his virtuosity in the solo parts. While the performance received a standing ovation, a stronger connection between the soloist and the orchestra would have led to a better result.
After the break, Mr. McAdams introduced Stravinsky‘s Symphony in Three Movements pointing out its power to create very different ideas among individual listeners, and still successfully tie these ideas together. Technically flawless, the forceful presentation by the VSO was delightfully colorful and still retained a degree of delicacy. It was the best of the evening, a good combination of emotion and musical inspiration.
As a grace note, Ravel’s Spanish Rhapsody did not require the intensity of the Stravinsky. McAdams succeeded in painting a dreamlike feeling in the Prélude à la Nuit but, unfortunately, carried that over into the rest of the work. The Malagueña called for a more earthy style. Likewise, the Habanera, though emotionally evocative, sounded a bit pretentious.
The concert proved surprising. Successful connections were drawn between the Spanish and Russian cultures highlighting the similar approaches to living life in a colorful and passionate way.
Carlos Lopez @CarlosJavierLS