Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Schumann and Mendelssohn

Guest Conductor: Andrey Boreyko

Performed at The Orpheum 5 February 2001

Last Monday, under its principal guest conductor Andrey Boreyko, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presented an evening of music of the Romantic period. The concert opened with Schumann's Overture,Scherzo and Finale, Op. 52 tastefully executed and displaying the orchestra's versatility.

Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto Number 2, in D minor, Op.40. followed. This is Mendelssohn at his exquisite best and the composition was brilliantly played by Lang Lang. Both Maestro Boreyko and the youthful Mr. Lang Lang were at one with the orchestra and gave a soul -satisfying performance of this refined and exquisite work.

Mr Lang Lang is a superb technician as well as a sensitive and appreciative musician. There was great delicacy and charm in his playing of the lighter allegro appassionata movement, and controlled power in the adagio.

The Finale presto scherzando was breathtaking in its technical execution, its musical excitement, and brilliance. To appreciative thunderous applause, Mr. Lang returned to the stage to give an encore. He performed Balakirov's Islamey. It is impossible to describe the excitement and scintillation of this performance. The strength and passion of the piece were displayed with incredible virtuosity.

This is a work to show off the dexterity of the pianist, but this must have been one of the most spectacular displays of the piece. The breathless orchestra and audience rose to its feet to give the soloist a well -deserved standing ovation.

After an intermission, the orchestra returned to the stage to give a seldom performed work by Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, sister of the well recognized Felix.Overture in C major is a charming composition beginning in a tranquil mood and rising to a triumphant finale. What might this Mendelssohn have given posterity if the social mores of her day had not prevented her from developing her musicianship as her brother did!

The evening closed with Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C major. Op 61. This symphony in four movements gives each section of the orchestra an opportunity to be recognized.

The Vancouver Symphony is to be congratulated for bringing an exciting new pianist to the city and for presenting this varied and interesting concert of Romantic music. --Jane Penistan