Soloist Alexander Ramm impresses with JPO
Alexander Ramm (‘cello) and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gérard Korsten gave us an enlightened performance of a work which can be obstreperous and therefore difficult to bring off. This young soloist is amazing in the way he projects all the moods within this intense piece of some 40 minutes’ duration. A few examples of what came back to me clearly today after Wednesday evening’s concert, are the following: Apart from technical matters to which we will return, it is the overall level of tonal lustre Ramm, who is only 24, displays which makes one listen in awe. The moods and contrasts in this work are so diverse and can switch as suddenly as the proverbial drop of a coin, that is takes a great artist to accommodate all of them.
He blends the difficult accompanying figurations perfectly against the orchestral solos. Magical indeed are the feathery triplet-patterns against the “dreamy” subject of the opening Andante. Just as subtle is the enjoyment he elates in the little dialogue between the ‘cello harmonics and flute which provides a brief respite in the conflicts of the mighty Allegro giusto second movement. In those passages described above in the second paragraph, it feels as if Ramm is already impetuous and risk-taking in a controlled manner through which he can often penetrate to the mystic and at times threatening soul of the work. During languid, introspective passages his burnished, dark legato is quite unique. He uses it to moving effect in the nostalgia, richness and warmth of the melody at the heart of the piece. He lets every phrase burn.
There is also a combination of fevered intensity and a whole range of intensely rewarding solo work forthcoming from the orchestra. Gérard Korsten commands a kind of classical finesse in his approach to the score which ensures a wonderfully balanced reading. He and his musicians are fastidious in scrupulously observing all the dynamic and agogic markings. There is a real Prokofiev sonority hanging in the air, with his often characteristically sardonic bite and wit potently in evidence. Congratulations are due to the orchestra and maestro Korsten whose alertness and pinpointed, detailed cultivation is something to behold.
Concert Management in Russia

Elizaveta Levina

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