Finalists lead the orchestra with Haydn concertos

In the first final round the finalists have a huge responsibility – they are leading the orchestra without a conductor.
We have now heard three Haydn concertos. 

Yesterday evening was opened by Timotheos Petrin

Jonathan: Steady, certain playing, but I got bored quite fast. There was some intonation problems I was disturbed by. I also thought he could’ve taken more contact to the orchestra – they made things almost too easy for the soloists, because they are used to play without a conductor. The last movement was a bit stiff and too slow – Petrin was maybe too secure in there.
Eero: He was leading with his head “diving”, and it didn’t really work. He also rolled his bow like he was conducting, but nobody could see that or react to that – that was unnecessary, although I understand he felt the need to do something. Especially in the last movement there was some intonation problems and he played a bit too harsh – this was not his best day. His playing is colorful, but today I would’ve liked to hear elegance and sophistication rather than this kind of barbarous playing.
Lauri: Petrin played again with the same certainty. I can see the cellist heroism in him, and it’s great he has made this far! In the last movement he rushed a little, but he made it through. I expect even more power in the last final.
Emma: The cello hero Petrin found those quiet dynamics that were missing in the last rounds – I just wished there would’ve been more colors and not so much dynamic changes, because sometimes he played so quiet we could’t even hear him. This was clearly not his day, and I hoped this Haydn was more streamlined and light. Intonation was not so perfect, and Petrin didn’t really take contact to the orchestra or even listened to them. Even though the orchestra did a good job following him. Bravo Tapiola Sinfonietta!
Santiago: Nice playing overall, though I got a feeling while watching that the nerves got in the way of his ideas and disturbed his performance.

The second player was Zlatomir Fung

Eero: Fung is again the musician we admired in the first round! This Haydn was elegant and dignified, but the first round is still his best one.
Lauri: Fung got a lot better from the semifinals, and his style really fits Haydn. We can hear high quality from his playing, and I want to mention especially the cadenzas he played original and convincing. I can’t wait to hear his Kokkonen concerto. Fung was still at his best in the first round, but from the semifinals he now got back to his own level – I’m glad!
Emma: He was much more free now than in the semifinals! I just wanted to see more contact with the orchestra and more personality in him. Even though he did catch the lightness and elegance of Haydn, it was a bit too straightforward for me. He sure is a quality player and very skillful, but for the big final I hope he can bring his own personality and his own ideas to the music.
Jonathan: I can feel the maturity and erudition from Fung. For me this Haydn was too analytic and a bit boring and it made my seat feel dangerously comfortable. I would like to hear more spontanious music and more color from him. Every phrase was specific and well-thought, but it as not so interesting for the audience.
Santiago: Confident and very secure playing, but lacked a bit of flair throughout the whole concerto.

The last player of the evening was Bryan Cheng

Emma: This is how you lead an orchestra! Cheng was the first one to play the tutti parts – it was a great and natural solution. Cheng made contact with the orchestra and for the first time I felt like the soloist and the orchestra were really making music together. This was the best Cheng so far, though the intonaiton wasn’t so perfect and he was rushing quite a lot. Sometimes the playing was a bit tacky and not so elegant, but Cheng was still the most interesting player of the evening. Oh, and nice socks! He’s the fashionist of this competition!
Jonathan: Cheng got the orchestra with him better than previous players. While he was playing, I had to think if he wants to play with an “authentic” style or with romantic style with a lot of vibrato and with big soloist sound. Now he had both, and I don’t think that is the best solution for any music. Cheng really kept the audience awake, even though he tried to do some weird effects to make it more interesting. In the last movement the tempo he took was a bit too fast and disturbed his technique.
Eero: The contact with Cheng and the orchestra was by far the best one. It was nice to see him play the tutti passages with the orchestra – the musical idea is so much better like this than with waving the bow. The style of this Haydn was sometimes a bit rough, but the big picture worked. I was sorry to hear the intonation problems. Fung might have been the most elegant player of the evening, but Cheng made me feel good. In the last movement he had such great energy and he gave that energy to the orchestra as well. Unfortunately the energy took away some precision in the technique.
Lauri: It was a pleasure to see, how confident he is. I can’t see any tension or nervousness in him. He had a great contact with the orchestra, and I also think it was a good choice to play the transitions with the orchestra. I really like his Stradivarius, which reall fills the space – I believe it will also fill the big hall of the Music Center. The show today was guaranteed and the audience could feel his happiness. It is very natural for him to be in front on the orchestra. I especially enjoyed his first movement. In the second movement I missed more feeling. In the last movement he was rushing a little and I noticed a few mannered timing things I would’ve left out. The totality was the most energetic of the day and the audience was enjoying him!
Santiago: Great confidence on stage as well, though it didn’t translate too much into his playing. It felt uncontrolled and a bit of a frenzy at times.

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