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Impassioned Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky in Rotterdam

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Stanislav Kochanovsky (he made his debut at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014) knows his Tchaikovsky. His approach to the score was fascinating from start to finish. Kochanovsky’s very strong pulse, his paramount concern for phrasing and dynamic proportionality, the choice for the affect instead of the effect, the rightly sharp but well-dosed contrast between exuberance and intimacy, the constantly swirling Allegro molto vivace and the closing part in an extraordinarily expressively charged arioso dolente made everything a very memorable performance.

© Aart van der Wal, Feb 2019

Kochanovsky seems to have a strong affinity with the music of Tchaikovsky. He has already conducted practically all the composer’s symphonic works and concertos, his ballets and four of his operas. This performance of the Pathétique, lucid, well-paced and detailed, left no doubt he has plenty to say. Kochanovsky has obviously thought a lot about the orchestral balance and made sure little or nothing of Tchaikovsky’s orchestration remained uncovered. While the RPO may lack the dark sonority which can turn this symphony into such a devastating experience, Kochanovsky’s attention to the woodwinds and brass, excellent as they were (bassoons and principal clarinet in particular), gave the symphony remarkable tonal contrast and depth […] Besides the blooming melodies, such as the big lyrical theme in the first movement which has been used and misused in various contexts often detrimental to the composer’s reputation, Kochanovsky made it clear this symphony set new boundaries for expressive purposes, as in the muscular, stormy development of the first movement, the Allegro molto vivace and even the final emotional outpourings of the Adagio lamentoso. The Rotterdam Philharmonic played it all with great commitment and conviction.
(c) Marc Haegeman, backtrack