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Concert review: SSO and the audience more than ready for Suk's profound work

Published on Apr 25, 2014 11:58 AM

The works of some composers are almost sure bets for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra - Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Brahms and Beethoven seldom fail to draw the crowds.

Joef Suk, student and son-in-law of the great Antonin Dvorak, is not among those composers, and programming his Asrael Symphony - named after Asrael, the "Angel of Death" - for Thursday evening's concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall, was always going to have its risks.

Pianist Nikolai Demidenko and Liszt's first piano concerto, on the other hand, are well known and well loved by Singapore audiences. The melodramatic opening bars portended a solid, if unadventurous reading by orchestra and soloist.

Demidenko's stage presence and gravitas were omnipresent, with nicely contrasting contemplative sections and some quirky moments. There were slight chinks in his formidable technique, but soloist and orchestra delivered a very commendable performance, right up to the hard, driving finale.

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