London Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis, Barbican Hall, London

A fast ride in a cabriolet racer

On the evidence of Sunday's LSO concert at the Barbican, switching from Sir Colin to Sir Andrew Davis is rather like hopping from a classy limousine to a cabriolet racer. Sir Andrew's Prokofiev Five certainly suited the weather. Others might have unfolded the opening Andante with greater spaciousness, but Davis's brightly lit development section helped clarify where Prokofiev's arguments had sprung from and where they were going.

The keenly accented scherzo became black comedy; fast and cynical with brilliant solo clarinet work from Andrew Marriner. I loved the trio's lazily quacking trumpets, the way they gradually picked up speed to join the first section's hectic return. No one would have claimed tidiness in every department, but then this wasn't that sort of performance. And there were other memorable details. I'm thinking of the desperation at the climax of the Adagio as the quiet, waltz-time introduction came screaming back, and the finale's slithery coda, a perennially shocking denouement.

Sir Andrew had opened the concert with Stravinsky's Quatre Etudes of 1930, cameo flashbacks to Petrushka that also pan forwards. The first, a primitive dance, granted valuable clarity to the timpani; the second became a tautly coiled clockwork toy on the rampage, the third a study in sullen woodwind sonorities, while the Spanish-flavoured finale was as much a study in musical stealth. Again Davis captured the distinctive flavour of each movement, and the music sounded so good. A year or so ago and the Barbican's stage would have kept much of the detail to itself, but not on Sunday, when the woodwinds really did project.

For many the concert's centrepiece will also have been its main attraction – a rare outing for Karl Goldmark's affable First Violin Concerto, played by the latest violinist to record it (for EMI), Philadelphia-born Sarah Chang. Goldmark was a Hungarian who made it big in Vienna and this particular work was, in its day, virtually as famous as the Brahms or Tchaikovsky concertos. If asked to rate it, I'd probably opt for midway between the Dvorak and the Bruch First. Goldmark's First is a loveable concerto that just occasionally doffs its hat to the halls of academe (two dry fugues seem somewhat incongruous) but Chang's spontaneous performance focused on its rustic charm and mel- odic warmth.

At the start of the work she waited patiently, her head bowed, while Davis cued a crisp orchestral opening. But once into the fray she turned on the heat. The Concerto's lyrical kernel is a slow movement which certain Old Masters performed out of context, though you'd need to be a fairly fit fiddler to tackle the outer movements' punishing passage work. Chang acquitted herself with honours: her look of triumph – and relief – as she dispatched her final flourish said it all. Davis and the LSO provided an accommodating and uncommonly vital accompaniment.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test