Tonight's concert was THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, and they weren't kidding. It was a good but challenging concert. The evening opened with Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, probably the weakest and certainly the least melodic of his concerti. It was well-performed by soloist Nicolai Lugansky.
After intermission, the orchestra performed the Shostakovich Symphony No. 1, his most academic piece. (His "good" symphonies are the multiples of 5: 5, 10, and 15.) Challenging for the woodwinds and brass, it's also a challenge for the audience.
The highlight of the evening was an outstanding performance of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Conductor Kirill Petrenko picked some fast tempos, but the orchestra lived up to the challenge.
Petrenko was also entertaining in his amazing physical similarity to Yakov Smirnoff. It was a great ending to a good concert.