Lyricism and virtuosity mingle in Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Violin Concerto, a showpiece of agility and speed that also demands great sensitivity in its wistful slow movement. Its soloist, Russian-born violinist Alina Pogostkina, is one of the most sought-after young talents today, praised for her subtle nuances and fiery passion.
The carefree mood is earlier set by What the Wild Flowers Tell Me, Britten’s delicate arrangement of the second movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony, one of the composer’s most graceful, gentle pieces.
Conductor Robin Ticciati changes the atmosphere completely with Shostakovich’s Symphony No 14, a gripping examination of our mortality that rages against death and celebrates life. It’s a riveting setting of 11 poems for two singers and chamber orchestra, for which Ticciati is joined by two celebrated soloists – the outstanding German-born soprano Anja Kampe and the powerful bass baritone Sir Willard White.