Viktoria Mullova

Viktoria Mullova on Facebook Viktoria Mullova on Instagram
Get Adobe Flash player

News & Press

The Times: LPO performance review

The Times
July 2019

Although it drifts into inconsequentiality before the end of its half-hour span, Pascal Dusapin’s At Swim-Two-Birds — receiving its UK premiere — is such a piece. Fans of Flann O’Brien will recognise the title, though perhaps struggle to connect the Irishman’s experimental 1939 novel with Dusapin’s music, except that both flow with a surreal logic that defies easy analysis.

What’s simple to pick up, however, is the sumptuous invention deployed in this double concerto. When the orchestra plays, it seems to extend the cello and violin lines into a new dimension of sonorities, or supply anguished punctuation to the solo duo’s lyrical paragraphs.

However, it’s when the orchestra doesn’t play that the work takes flight. Then the violin and cello intertwine in cadenzas that gradually become more ecstatic and profusely virtuosic. As in Dusapin’s opera-ballet Passion, staged at the Southbank last month, there’s a Birtwistle-like sense of a ritual being played out to which the listener hasn’t been initiated, but there’s a lot more sensuality to enjoy in the Frenchman’s music. And Mullova and Barley played it superbly, abetted by excellent work from the London Philharmonic under the fast-rising Colombian conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada.