I am attending the concert of Alexander Shelley, a young UK conductor not usually associated with Sibelius, performing the second symphony with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra the day after.
So, why am I writing this?
Because I have just attended the pre-concert discussion, which lasted 1.5 hours.
The conductor spoke about his views on Messiaen (for the other piece of music programmed for the concert) and Sibelius. He explained the structure of S2 with full orchestra playing excerpts from time to time. He was very logical and talkative, which contradicted my impressions on conductors - I thought they were only good at speaking with music, not with words - my fault.
I asked him several questions, including how he ranked the seven symphonies. (so you know who I am if you had attended. Haha) He said the first priorities for programming music are S2 and S5, because they are easier to understand for common people after food and drinks.... etc etc, which I agree.
I would describe his conducting as very vivid that results with power-house style music, sometimes too strong. Overall, beautiful. Perhaps S2 is too difficult to go wrong.
I greatly appreciate such kind of FREE pre-concert discussion, it is extremely insightful for people with no technical music knowledge like me. Nonetheless, I rarely come across similar events by conductors in my home town.