Music: Paganini Variations Nielsen ‘Inextinguishable’ RSNO

God bless conductor Thomas Sondegard whose recent concert with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra turned out to be an unexpected joy to listen to on BBC Radio 3.

I’ve included his picture – shamelessly lifted / embedded from the CBSO website – because it’s a telling one. Sondegard has a wild look about him. And it’s reflected in the performance he demanded from his players last week when the concert was recorded. And that’s reflected in the broadcast, unusual for us radio listeners who don’t have the budget or the time available to experience music-making outside the capital. (Yes, I would relish the opportunity both afforded.)

Whilst I agree with Peter Cudmore’s assessment of piano soloist Lukic’s “immaculate, sparkling performance” of Rachmaninov’s Paganini Variations for piano and orchestra, I’m of the mind his assessment of the Nielsen symphony – ‘The Inextinguishable’ – performed in the second half of the concert stands as an indispensible primer for the composer’s work. It was exciting. Gripping, in fact. All in all an engaging listen.

Still, each to his own.

:: The performance (will, if it isn’t already) be available via the BBC Radio 3 website or via iPlayer (when it’s cooked)

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