Friday, March 18, 2011

REVIEW: Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Monday March 14

Riccardo Chailly and the world's oldest civic orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, started their full-house all-Dvorak concert with the Carnival Overture, Op 92. Chailly gave an exhilaratingly lush account of the piece and brought that tingling sensation that signaled one was in for a night of fine music.

With Leonidas Kavakos playing his Abergavenny Stradivarius of 1724 in the Violin Concert in A minor, Op 53, the expectation was high. However, I can't help but feel that the sound a bit muted... not that I can discriminate a Stradivarius from a Guarneri del Gesú, but the feeling did made me sit up and try to listen more carefully. Chailly presented a faithful and crisp account of the piece with hints of Slavonic flavour. Kavakos played with control and precision and appropriately clear in attack. I did wish though that there was a little bit more lilt in the finale which was clean and crisp in a fast speed. Overall, it was an admirable performance and The audience was further rewarded with an encore from Kavakos.

The second half was slated for Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op 70, arguably better than the more popular New World Symphony. The orchestra was committed and intense, while the tempi were consistently appropriate. Chailly infused the slow movements with Brahmsian touch while the Scherzo was flavored with Czech inflection that was warm in spring.

The evening was an unqualified success and Chailly graciously served up Dance No. 3 & 7 as encores.


14 March

Dvořák: Carnival Overture, Op 92
Dvořák: Violin Concerto in A minor, Op 53
- Leonidas Kavakos (Violin)
Dvořák: Symphony No 7 in D minor, Op 70

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At October 10, 2011 at 12:12 AM , Blogger Joyalso said...

I just got home from seeing what is probably the orchestral performance that is as far from 'lush" as possible, that of Eschenbach's Vienna Philharmonic. The Leipzig orchestra this past spring may have been the finest symphonic experience I have ever had. But Eschenbach's interpretation of Schubert's 8th was a wonder, a virtual sculpture in sound. Rather than lush and resonant, it was bright and clean presenting structured lines in a stately tempo that allowed sounds and structures to become expansive and small phrasings audible. I usually prefer a more sprightly tempo but this was presentation was masterful. Bravo! Certainly, Hong Kong is blessed with world class classical music and this year has been extraordinary.

At October 16, 2011 at 12:54 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

Hi Joyalso! Thank you for the message. Sorry for the late reply as I was not feeling well and was also writing a review for Time-Out on Vienna Philharmonic. I share your point of view. Not to pre-empt my review, I think the star was Eschenbach and Goerne rather than the Orchestra. This year is extraordinary and next year with the same hopefully :-)


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