Tim Hofray treks to London’s Cadogan Hall on 20 June 2019 for the recital
Kian Soltani, often described as one of the rising cellists of today, has pretty much risen already, and is a musical force to be reckoned with. He is artist-in-residence with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he played Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in this concert. He has a strong on-stage personality, which he showed in the great opening paragraph of the first movement, combining strength with supple phrasing. In the passagework he flowed beautifully amid the orchestral writing, and he emerged at the end in full colour. In the second movement Soltani played with wonderful articulacy and flexibility of phrasing. There is a conviction to his playing, which showed in his vigorous performance of the finale, as if this is his own music, something personal he is sharing with the rest of us. There was real emotional power here. As an encore Soltani played a piece of his own, the Persian Fire Dance, a dramatic, foot-stomping work with its roots in, presumably, Persian folk music, featuring compulsive rhythms and ecstatic melody.
The concert opened with a sizzling performance of Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture. After it came a new work by Tom Coult, Codex (Homage to Serafini), with some chamber-like writing and layers of aggression in the middle, and a colourful account of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, with fine wind solos.