How much of a piano concerto performance is influenced by the conductor and how much is by the pianist? This reviewer clearly believes it is the latter.
With his last concert being a long six weeks ago, perhaps it’s unsurprising the Philharmonic faithful turned out in force for Vasily Petrenko’s first Liverpool appearance of 2016.
In the intervening weeks the maestro, marking his 10th season in the city, has pinballed between Vienna, St Petersburg, Moscow, Oslo (home of shhh, his other orchestra) and Moscow again.
A welcome return then, with an evening of Soviet composers to boot, and a fellow Russian at the keyboard.
But while it may have been titled Petrenko’s Shostakovich (and the two have become synonymous in Hope Street), in reality this programme is Boris Giltburg’s Shostakovich.
The 31-year-old Muscovite has been a not infrequent visitor to the Philharmonic Hall during his career, although it’s almost a decade since he collaborated with Petrenko here.
He delivered the Russian composer’s brace of works – played on a Fazioli grand that he’d brought with him – with both dash and panache.
With the piano concertos’ natural order switched to satisfy the evening’s musical narrative (light and ebullient first half, darker, meatier second), Giltburg launched into the youthful F Major second’s opening allegro with a mesmerising display of fingerwork.