For his final season as the BBC Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor, Juanjo Mena has unearthed several rarities from little-visited corners of the classical canon, and tonight’s concert ends with a quietly extraordinary piece that doesn’t often get an outing in British concert halls. Written by Alberto Ginastera in 1937 when he was just 21 years old, Panambí is the Latin American link between West Side Story and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. It’s true world music – written in Buenos Aires by a composer born to Catalan and Italian parents, inspired equally by Latin rhythms and Guaraní Indian folk tales, and set across no fewer than 17 short movements that don’t stand still for long. There’s no other piece quite like it, especially in concert. The evening opens with another rarely heard work, albeit one from a much more familiar composer: The Voyevoda is a restive yet poignant symphonic ballad from the pen of Tchaikovsky. In between, Alban Gerhardt is the soloist for Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto: dark yet occasionally amusing, intimate yet sometimes overpowering, it captures many of the contradictions that run through the life and work of this elusive composer.
Juanjo Mena – Conductor
Alban Gerhardt – Cello
Manchester Chamber Choir (ladies)