What has happened to Jiri Belohlavek?!? I know that Dvorak and Smetana is the music of his homeland, but that alone cannot account for the sense of urgency we've heard from his performances at the Proms this year. Has he, at the age of 65, transformed into a great Maestro?
This was a concert of two enormous pieces. First was the most passionate, viscerally involving performance of Dvorak's Cello Concerto heard in many a moon. The soloist, French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, is a cellist with an enormous, gorgeous high-fat sound - a gorgeousness he is unhesitant to abandon when the music demands. All throughout, I was very much of the largeness of spirit you'd find from Heinrich Schiff or Lynn Harrell (who made a stunner of a recording of this piece thirty years ago with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia). The style was romantic to a fault, with more freedom and flexibility than most soloists ever dare. Belohlavek and the BBCSO matched him rubato for rubato, extreme for extreme.