Russia came to Aberdeen last Friday as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra hosted a concert at Aberdeens Music Hall. The night opened with challenging listening, (as I describe it), as the Orchestra played Lindbergs Arena. I think us humans are naturally tuned to regular rhythm and smooth continuous vibrations of sound. Arena challenges that and gives joy in technical skill and the tuneful clashing of instruments, tempo and rhythm. The audience gave a polite applause.
An anticipatory quiet filled the hall as we awaited Nikolai Lugansky to take to the stage. The Grand piano was placed center stage. Nikolai entered and with nonchalant strides took to his seat where he adjusted it up, up, down, up, down, up before composing himself and nodding his readiness to the conductor. Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.4 the piece waiting to be expressed. The first notes were played and the audience was captured. A good balance between the piano and orchestra was established as the Conerto's continuous beats, runs and scales blended together. As the tempo quickened, Nikolai bounced more frantically on his seat as he rattled up the keys before gently finishing of a section. Center stage, soloist have no where to hid as they reveal their naked self in the notes. I admire their courage and showmanship.
The Concerto rallied to its close, all musicians on stage intensely involved and all under the control of the Conductor, Roberto Spano. So much energy, so much emotion filled the stage and Nikolai was completely adsorb, the final chord. The applause mirrored the intensity that had just been heard and after three ovations, Nikolai treated us to solo performance. Delicate, light, beautiful notes floated through the quietest of silences. It was like the music was leading you to the land of dreams and that all dreams had landed in the Music Hall at that moment such was the atmosphere.
As the final note slipped away the applause gathered. There was a buzz during the interval. The Orchestra regrouped to finish with Sibelius, Symphony No.2. Where Arena sounded disjointed Sibelius flowed majestically throughout, lots of variety and each section of the orchestra got its turn to lead before uniting to give a classical finale. An evening of entertainment that surpassed all my expectations.