jueves, diciembre 16, 2010

The symphonic season´s final stretch

             The Colón´s symphonic season has ended among cancellations due to labor troubles. The Buenos Aires Philharmonic lost three important concerts: two of its subscription series (the first featured Sol Gabetta in Elgar´s Cello Concerto and Arturo Diemecke conducting Holst´s "The Planets"; in the second guitarist Pepe Romero was to play Rodrigo´s Concierto de Aranjuez and Diemecke, to conduct Mahler´s Fifth), and one of the Complejo Teatral´s Cycle of Contemporary Music , with Alejo Pérez conducting Ives´ Fourth Symphony and Xenakis´ "Jonchaies". Moreover, the "Estable" was left without the last concerts of its series, to be conducted by Marco Guidarini and Francisco Rettig.  However, I have some previous Phil concerts to review forthwith.
            For some strange reason, Arnold Bax´s admirable tone poem "Tintagel" was displaced from the all-British programme (with Holst and Elgar, above) and stuck incongruously in an Italian night; Diemecke gave its Arthurian evocation plenty of sweep and ardor. Russian violinist Ilya Kaler had some trouble with the many passages in harmonics in Paganini´s Second Concerto, but he played most of it with virtuoso panache, especially "La Campanella", and Diemecke accompanied with intensity.The second part gave us magnificent performances of Respighi´s masterpieces, "Fountains of Rome" and "Pines of Rome".
            German maestro Günter Neuhold has visited us before, showing his eclectic repertoire and fine professionalism. Unfortunately, the difficulties provoked by the feud between the players and the Government shortened the rehearsal time and forced the replacement of Shostakovich´s Symphony Nº 6 by the overplayed Schumann Fourth. It was decently done, but disappointment set in nevertheless. However, we had had an interesting First Part. The world premiere of "Corpus Christi: Visiones del Grial" again showed in its compact three parts (twelve minutes) the very special concepts of Argentine composer Luis Mucillo, a true mystic and humanist with a particular talent for suggestive orchestration and concentrated thought. In complete contrast, Tchaikovsky´s dashing Violin Concerto was played with fierce vitality by Nemanja Radulovic (debut), 25, Serbian, whose flexible Gypsy looks and histrionic demeanor are coupled with brilliant command of the mechanics and true singability. He was well-accompanied by Neuhold.
            In what, due to the circumstances, was to be the last subscription concert, Alejo Pérez conducted with versatility an extremely varied programme (maybe too much so). It isn´t habitual nowadays to play Bach in symphonic concerts, but his Brandenburg Concerto Nº2 not only provided the opportunity to hear for the first time here a remarkable trumpetist, Reinhold Friedrich, but the Argentine soloists proved equally adept (Pablo Saraví, violi; Néstor Garrote, oboe; Claudio Barile, flute) and Pérez kept things reasonably Baroque. There were some misadjustments in the two suites from Manuel De Falla´s "The Three-cornered Hat" and I wonder if rehearsal time was enough, but it was a pleasant traversal.
            The Second Part was outstanding. The "Two pictures" op.10 by Bartók are rarely played; they are quite long (18 minutes) and show both the lyrical ("In flower") and the dynamic ("Peasant dance") sides of the composer in his early stages with an already assured and personal hand. Finally, it was worth premiering Bernd Alois Zimmermann´s Trumpet Concerto "Nobody knows de trouble I see", where the German composer uses a Negro Spiritual as inspiration for a very expressive, intense and difficult score in a modern but communicative idiom. Friedrich was wonderful and Pérez showed again his easy technical capacity for complex twentieth-century music.
            A non-subscription concert called "of the Bicentenaries" was a homage to the American countries that are celebrating   200 years of their independence (of course that´s not true here: our independence dates from 1816). Diemecke conducted with his habitual enthusiasm. Two of the pieces are well-known: the Mexican Silvestre Revueltas´"Sensemayá" and our Ginastera´s "Obertura del Fausto criollo". The rather too noisy and banal "Margariteña" by Inocente Carreño (1919) represented Venezuela. Curiously enough, it was being played simultaneously at the Auditorio de Belgrano in an all-Venezuelan evening by the National Symphony conducted by Luis Gorelik.
            The Colón´s composer-in-residence Mario Perusso created for the occasion "A Lyric Symphony", a title redolent of Zemlinsky´s homonymous score. It has four parts based in poems by four women. The long first movement has as text "Palabras a mi madre" by Alfonsina Storni; the beautiful lines were nicely sung by mezzosoprano Alejandra Malvino. Then, a turbulent 3-minute "Despertar" by Raquel Adler, sung by soprano Carla Filipcic Holm. Longer (7 minutes) is "El erque" by Emma Solá, an evocation of our Northwest sung by Malvino. The final "Buenos Aires, ciudad plena", on a terribly mediocre poem by Juana María Gómez, sounded to me bombastic and noisy. I found the whole score less interesting than others by this author, such as his Third Symphony ("Warnes").
            I will poach in another territory to finish this article, reviewing the debut of the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw (Nuova Harmonia, Coliseo). It´s an eighteen-member goup led by Henk Meutgeert: 5 saxophones, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, drums, guitar, bass and piano. No clarinets. The programme was based on a famous record, "Birth of the cool", with pieces by such greats of that style as Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Bud Powell and John Coltrane. They also veered from cool to give us some lovely Ellington ("In a sentimental mood"), and the inevitable Piazzolla ("Oblivion", as an exception with clarinet).  Although there´s no gainsaying their efficacious professionalism, this was regimented jazz, not improvisatory or fresh. The pianist was quite dashing, though.

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