Tchaikovsky, Variations on a Rococo Theme in A major, Op. 33
Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
Alban Gerhardt, cello
Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Klaus Mäkelä
Antwerp, Queen Elisabeth Hall, 28 October 2018
Judging by the many empty seats in the Elisabeth Centre, Antwerp concertgoers may not be very matinal, in spite of the alluring programme – and the pre-concert coffee and croissants generously included with the tickets. Yet those who braved the Sunday morning start were in for a treat. This matinée by the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra (ASO) was dubbed “Alban Gerhardt plays Tchaikovsky”. In retrospect, the performance by the German cellist of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme proved an absolute highlight, but at the same time we were introduced to a promising newcomer, the highly-touted Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä, only 22 years old, currently Principal guest conductor with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and soon-to-be Chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic.