The Captivating Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

Yuri Simonov in Edinburgh, 5 October 2011

The Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra gave a stunning performance in the Scottish capital last Wednesday. The talented musicians made the audience jump on their feet and shower the stage with ‘bravos’ after two brief extra pieces to the main program performed with the same zest and passion.

The orchestra dates back to the years after the Second World War when the Russian government wished to establish a major international orchestra in Moscow to rival the world-famous Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Philharmonic. Chief conductor/music director Yuri Simonov, a former member of the world-famous Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra, helped the Moscow Philharmonic not only to maintain the highest level of musicianship but to achieve a higher international fame by touring the world and collaborating with renowned soloists and acclaimed international conductors.

If the purpose of live performances is a ‘give-take’ relationship between performers and audience, the link between the musicians, conductor and audience that night was exquisite. The empowering beginning with a short suite, Romeo and Juliet, by Prokofiev was further enhanced and developed with the virtuoso play of the prima viola of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto before the interval.

The second part of the concert turned into a mere celebration of the first ,with the steaming performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, in which the orchestra’s musical skills reached almost a peak of perfection.

The joyful and entertaining manner of conducting of Yuri Simonov, who tops the world’s list of best conductors, was a total spirit-raiser. Apart from his own orchestra, Simonov gracefully conducted the audience too which with pure admiration and delight delegated him the ownership of the stage. Behind the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra’s total conquest of the Edinburgh audiences with its fine artistry and elegance stands a multiple years of hard work and rich performance experience.

For the most avid classical buffs: Don’t miss one of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras at the Usher Hall next March with a fabulous Russian programme coming all the way from St. Petersburg! The internationally acclaimed conductor Yuri Termikanov and the piano soloist Dmitri Alexeev have prepared a feast for the ears. The program includes: Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 and Shosrtakovich’s Symphony No.5. As with all Russian concerts, be ready for surprising twists and generous musical gifts. In case you want to treat the musicians in a Russian way – bring a bunch of beautiful flowers to give to the orchestra at the end and don’t be afraid to be loud and generous in your appreciation.

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