miércoles, junio 28, 2017

The richness of our symphonic life is amazing

             In our city we are privileged to have three quality professional orchestras plus three youth ones and several chamber outfits, plus numerous visits from the provinces and foreign countries. Once the season is on it doesn´t stop until the end of the year and it´s hard to cover in a weekly, but here is a partial synthesis.
            Last year Ciudad Konex presented a five-day-long Mozart Festival; now we got a Beethoven panorama, with the nine symphonies as the main event by La Filarmónica, the ad-hoc name of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic when it isn´t performing officially. With the sure hand of Carlos Vieu I enjoyed two of the four concerts of the cycle, those encompassing symphonies Nos. 6 ("Pastoral") and 5, and the First plus the 9th, "Choral". All are important, even essential, but some more than others (3, 5, 6, 7 and 9); together they form the most significative corpus of symphonies in history.
            The blissful  (save for the Storm) "Pastorale" was nicely played and conducted with fine command, though I missed some of the inner joy and flow of nature which makes it so special. The starkly built Fifth marked by its destiny motif  had the right feeling of inexorable progress and of clear articulation, only lacking the granite-like strength it needs in some passages. On the other programme the freshness and already unmistakable personality of the composer in the First Symphony was very cleanly communicated. And the mighty Ninth was quite powerful and intelligently interpreted in the first two movements; the slow one didn´t quite achieve its role of introspective oasis of beauty; and the last was good in the instrumental minutes but when the voices entered with the "Ode of Joy"  the results were uneven; the Coro Lagun Onak (Rubén Pesce) did well, but two of the soloists were below par: bass-baritone Lucas Debevec Mayer grimacing and forcing his line, and soprano Paula Almerares without the radiance she used to have. Mezzo Alejandra Malvino was correct but only tenor Enrique Folger sang with the conviction and projection the music needs.   The festival also had two outstanding concerts I couldn´t hear: one by the Petrus Quartet and the other of famous sonatas played by Horacio Lavandera.
            The Colón´s Orquesta Estable is generally in the pit but sometimes it is on stage, as in a Sunday concert beginning the Abono Verde (Green subscription series), with outrageous prices. After decades of absence, we finally had the visit of the famous Brazilian conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky, now 82 and still hale. The Mahler First Symphony had some initial difficulties but gradually showed his mettle and knowledge. However, what made the afternoon memorable was pianist Sergio Tiempo, at the top of his remarkable talent in Rachmaniniov´s huge Third Concerto (and well supported by the orchestra). His incredible dexterity meshed with the perfect phrasing of each fragment. His encores were a Chopin slow prelude , the Ginastera Malambo and a Venezuelan joropo.
            Two lines to celebrate the first visit to BA at the Colón by the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Provincia de Río Negro (born 2015) led by Fabrizio Danei. Playing Beethoven, Poulenc and Latinamerican dances arranged by Gerardo Gardelín, this small outfit (40 players) showed much promise.
For Buenos Aires Herald