I heard the fastest Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 in my life tonight. By my count, the first movement was essentially double tempo throughout, the second a good 20% faster than marked, and the fourth bordering on the absurd, at the end. “It’s the Venezuelan way, fast and loud” I was recently told by a very honest, pragmatic member of the Fesnojiv entourage here in London.
But no criticism is implied. I assume the strategy was simple: rip through the Prokofiev in order to make more time for the encores. And there were encores, in triplicate, and the crowd loved it. The lights dimmed, Venezuelan jackets miraculously appeared, and we off to the races with Tico Tico, the Ginastera Malambo and Bernstein’s Mambo. Enough said, here’s a clip including the hall after the unexpected lights-out.