02 July, 2014

Brief Concert Reviews: Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Jurowski and Ivan Fischer

Brief Concert Reviews: Jansons, Jurowski and Fischer

Belatedly, three wonderful concerts in brief, the most recent first.

pic from NYT

June 2, Avery Fisher Hall
Budapest Festival Orchestra - Ivan Fischer - Daniel Muller-Schott
All Dvorak

The Budapest Festival Orchestra travels a lot. I only just heard them in HK, and then this concert, one of a pair, in NYC. I am not complaining.

Daniel Muller-Schott played sensitively, though his tone was a little small for me. Nonetheless the account of the Dvorak Cello Concerto was still quite good under Ivan Fischer's careful leadership. But in the New World Symphony the orchestra came into their true selves. What a blazing finale! The beautiful woodwind playing and brazenly perfect brass playing also helped deliver the jewel-like Legend No. 10 and Slavonic Dance, Op 72, No. 6.

You must read the NYT Review for description of the wonderful encores.

pic from NYT

May 23, Avery Fisher Hall
NYPO - Vladimir Jurowski - Nicola Benedetti
Szymanowski - Prokofiev

Credit must be due to Nicola Benedetti, who replaced Janine Jensen at the last minute and gave a perfect performance. Together with the expert conducting of Vladimir Jurowski, the performance of the Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 1 caught all the mercurial moods and exotic color of this great piece (a favorite of mine). The performance was even better than the one she recorded for DG. Her tone was ravishing, if just a little smaller than the regal Jensen.

One often gets to hear Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet but not his Cinderella, and this performance of extended excerpts prove that should never have been the case. Jurowski coaxed incisive playing out of the NYPO, and the brilliant writing and graphic portrait made the characters virtually leap out of the pages. Fantastic!
NYT Review

pic from NYT

May 17, Carnegie Hall
Bavarian Radio Symphony - Mariss Jansons - Michiko Uchida
Beethoven - Shostakovich

Finally I caught up with them! A couple of years ago I bought tickets for a Sunday concert but forgot it was in the afternoon. Just like last time, it was a string of three concerts, and I heard the middle one.

Given the soloist Michiko Uchida, the performance of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 is not the yin-yang exchange it can sometimes be. Rather, her classicism and refinement was refreshing. The partnership was tight.

Mariss Jansons in Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 is a known entity. The brilliant Bavarian Radio Symphony (which gets better and better) played perfectly. In fact, the immaculate performance reminded me of Haitink's Concertgebouw reading. Emotionally, I am not sure what more can be wrenched out of this evergreen.

NY Times review