CAMA’s International Series is currently in full swing, with six concerts packed into the first five months of 2020. London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra led the way on Monday, January 27, with a program that featured two works by Tchaikovsky and one by Mozart. Maestro Pinchas Zukerman conducted and performed as the soloist on Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219, “Turkish.”
Zukerman’s experienced hand was well suited to the traditional program, which highlighted the RPO’s affinity for Romanticism and its considerable energy and power. The opener, a “Polonaise” dance excerpted from the opera Eugene Onegin, gave us a taste of what was to come after the interval, in Tchaikovsky’s massive Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64. The Mozart concerto gave Zukerman an opportunity to demonstrate why he remains a first-call soloist with virtually every major orchestra. His clear, singing tone and exquisite control of dynamics rendered this splendid example of Mozart at his most substantial a rare treat.
The best was, however, unquestionably saved for last. Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony dazzled with its brilliant writing for oboe and horn and its general air of Russian cultural authenticity. This is a composer with something to say and the means to say it emphatically. The promise of symphonic music has rarely been harnessed so well to a broader view of the world.