Russian cellist Sergey Antonov plays masterful Tchaikovsky with the Reno Philharmonic

 

Jack Neal MUSIC REVIEWS

 

Tradition tells us that good luck in marriage requires including something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. That tradition also pretty much describes the current series of Reno Philharmonic concerts.

 

Composer Jennifer Higdon’s “blue cathedral” is blue. It’s also new. The superb young Russian cellist Sergey Antonov is borrowed, if one can call a brilliant artist and terrific guest soloist borrowed. Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7 are both relatively old. All three works, given the kind of superlative performances heard here, are thrilling. With conductor Laura Jackson, Antonov and the Reno Philharmonic, the Higdon, the Tchaikovsky and the Dvorak are splendidly brought off. At Sunday’s matinee concert (11/15/09) at Reno’s Pioneer Center before a near capacity audience, listeners responded to what they heard with the kind of spontaneous enthusiasm these performances deserve.

 

At 26, Antonov’s Reno debut is nothing less than sensational. His impressive technical facility allows him to freely interpret the Tchaikovsky variations, making them more musical portraits than stiffly formal symphonic solo collaborations. Whatever magic Antonov and Jackson bring to their work together, it’s a magic that suits the music. The phrasing is sensuous. The musical imagery is vivid. An ovation opened the door for more. Antonov, Jackson and the orchestra encored with the most exquisite rendering of a Tchaikovsky Nocturne for Cello and Orchestra...