November 11, 2008 at 3:22 AM
Well, I promised to write a review of an astonishing concert I went to the other by the Leader of the Vienna Philharmonic. Weird as it might sound I have actually forgotten his name and mislaid the paper with it written in Japanese. I googled the orchestra and checked out the three leaders but I am reluctant to say it was Rainer Honeck until I see the shaved version. Will check with colleagues. In the meantime, the review.
The leader of the Vienna Philharmonic (fill in space) played a concert at Clarazaal Hall in
The maestro, playing on the ex-Viotti Stradivarius, began with the Bach Sarabande from the D minor partita. It was a huge, warm sound from the word go. And it was minus vibrato for about half the time. This non-fashionable approach , he literally just stops using vibrato for quite long periods, became a feature of he whole performance., contrasting sharply with more modern approaches which use an often small vibrato continuously (cf Znaider) and mavericks such as Mr. Gringolts who cheerfully play without for whole movements of Bach. The interpretation was very free and expressive and perpetually creamy. In the Sarabande it was stunning. He followed with the Chaccone. Astonishing technique, sound and musicianship, but it made me a little uncomfortable, especially the opening few sections where rhythmic regularity and overall structure seemed to be sacrificed in favor of pouring on the cream on the juicy chords, notes etc. In the end this made an incredibly impressive performance actually a little unsatisfactory. Freedom without discipline is not always a good thing. In particular that beautiful pp sustained d major entry was separated from the preceding passage by such a long break it sounded utterly foreign and disjointed. I cannot recall hearing such a pause before. Another slow movement from another partita was beautifully played and then Paginini Caprice 24. Why anyone would do this here I don’t know because it was followed by the Andante from the A sonata…. The Paginini was splayed with tremendous élan and musicianship. It was not flawless, especially the left hand almost came a cropper in the high chromatic variation. However, the overall impression was simply of someone who as a busy professional did not have the luxury to sit down and polish it to the nth degree for the winter season as players of old may have done. Clearly in an ideal world he could eat this music for breakfast. Superb, but why place it in the middle of a hodge podge of Bach?
His last unaccompanied work was Kreisler rRecitative and Scherzo. I guess this was a favorite. Never heard it better. The rubato works here, the technique was flawless and the schmaltzy portamento judged to a tee. He followed with the Kreutzer Sonata.
It was clear to me that he had not worked much with the piano player on this although two musicians of this caliber can still work miracles together. That this did not quite happen was the fault of the pianist who is one of the most highly rated accompanists in
The question of tempos in the Kreutzer is tricky but one of my old teacher told me how Milstein told him of playing the Kreutzer with Rachmaninoff. The latter insisted on a very light and bubbly approach to the slow movement and then a slower version of the last movement. In my opinion this makes a lot of sense and I felt had the violinist been freer to set the tempos this would actually have happened. Nonetheless, it was one of the most spectacular Kreutzers I have ever seen or heard form the violinist’s perspective.
One of the best concerts I have been to .
Afterwards a huge buffet and large quantities of poor quality wine were laid out and I got very drunk, much to the amusement of everyone else.
I'm jealous! Those are all the pieces I would want to hear!
If he was playing the Arnold Rose Strad then I am going to make an informed guess that it was Volkhard Steude. Wonderful player, great instrument, sounds like a fascinating concert...
I like your review because you found words to express what you needed to say. Most reviewers just enjoy finding words for the sake of finding them. They go away with a full Easter basket, all proud of themselves.
I like your review because you found words to express what you needed to say. Most reviewers just enjoy finding words for the sake of finding them. They finish with a full Easter basket, all proud of themselves.
I was so proud of my opinion, I thought I'd post it twice.
Someone give me a delete button, please.
Great review, Buri, thank you. Made me feel as though I had poked my ear through the door.
Thanks for your blog, sounds like you had a good time. I was just reading about that violin in Faber's Stradivari's Genius and didn't know where it was. It's good to know it's in capable hands.
Rosalind, a million thanks. Tha`s him. I called a Japanese colleauge last night but the best English they could come up with from the katakana was Wolkart Shutohide. Dounded embarrasingly Japanese to me....;)
What wa sinteresting when I researched the blogs of these leaders is the incredibly strong connection they have with Japan. One of them is also guest concert master of the Osaka Symphony orchestra . That incidentlaoly is about to close down with the sudden withfrawal of funding. One of Japan`s great orchestras. Another tragedy.
Glad to be able to help Buri, he's a great violinist, (by the way, why does everyone call you Buri and not Stephen?!)
I know the Vienna Phil have had close relationships with Japan for many years, and they seem to have done very well financially from their visits. I think the band kind of hooked on to the growing interest in Western music in Japan at just the right time and made the most of their opportunities. Going to concerts in the Musikverein I was always surprised at the high percentage of Japanese visitors in the audience.
It is rather worrying to hear that Japanese orchestras are suffering economically too... where will it all end.
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