Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Michael Tumelty

Five Stars

NO reservations from this quarter. What a belter of a concert on Saturday night from the RSNO: full-throated and red-blooded music-making with the young Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen, a new-ish name to me though he’s obviously, from his cv, been around a bit. I thoroughly relished his taste for the quirky, and he’s a bit piratical in a Kristjan Jarvi-like manner, with loads of musical characterisation up his sleeve. His opener, one of Anatoli Liadov’s three orchestral fairy tales, The Enchanted Lake, was pure orchestral seduction in sound: totally atmospheric in sonority, with shimmering atmospheres and magical stillness, it suggested that these pieces, which are pretty-much nowhere in the repertoire, should be looked at again: The Enchanted Lake was absolutely gorgeous.

Jensen has a battery of accompaniments up his sleeve, producing a staggeringly-appropriate, characterful and quirky, meteoric and motoric accompaniment to the amazing Nikolai Lugansky’s blistering account of Prokofiev’s Fifth Piano Concerto, and blinding support from the RSNO in the composer’s “wall of sound” First Concerto, the shortest of the cycle, but one of the greatest, and an unstoppable piece that steamrollers over all obstacles in its path. Lugansky, who seems like a down to earth character, has a genius touch with Prokofiev, and he’ll be back on Saturday to play the most popular of the concertos, the Third, with the mighty John Storgards conducting.

As for young Mr Jensen, I’d be thrilled if he was invited back after his culminating and climactic direction on Saturday, which conjured from the RSNO a glorious account of Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony, quivering with volatility from top to tail.