(Previously posted elsewhere, henceforth PPE.)
April 5, 2003
Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi conducting, Vadim Repin violin
Sibelius – Finlandia
Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47
Stravinsky – Suite from The Firebird (1919)
Ravel – Boléro
Orchestration: two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, five horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, and strings.
Yes, I know this work, though not very well; that theme, however, is exceedingly familiar. ‘Tis the beginning of the work I do not know so well, but perhaps that is because it is overshadowed with the later music.
A good opener. The orchestra played well, and not just in this work, but throughout. Interesting to contrast the very opening of last night’s concert, the NSO with a guest conductor, to this opening, an orchestra with its music director. One cohesive unit throughout, no hesitancy or ambiguity onstage.
Orchestration: two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, five horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, and strings plus solo violin.
I’m not much a fan of solo violin and especially of solo violin pyrotechnics, but if I have to listen to both, let it please be a violinist who has the marvelously warm, rich tone that Repin gave out this afternoon! He was wonderful.
This three-movement work is … okay, with the last movement the most attractive to me. I'm not likely to seek this work out, but it's not because of today's performance, believe me!
Orchestration: two flutes, piccolo, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, four trumpets, three trombones, tuba, harp, celesta, piano, timpani, bass drum, marimba, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, triangle.
Well, hey, I loved it, but then, this work is the reason I picked this concert! It was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, and this is the work that caused me to make the comment above that this orchestral can really pump out sound. (I just wish a very sniffly, throat-clearing usher hadn’t sat behind me moments before this work started, but I suppose that’s what I get for changing seats.)
The orchestra seats itself a bit differently than the NSO does, and I think this is to its benefit. The trumpets, trombones, and tubas were stage left rear, with no one directly in front of them, on slight platforms, the 'bones and tuba behind, but offset, from the trumpets.
No plastic shields, in other words, between them and other orchestra members. Sometimes, I like to feel the sound, and there was one moment in this work where it seemed the brass, indeed the whole orchestra, but especially the brass, really let loose. And WOW! It was fabulous.
Orchestration: piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, oboe d'amore, English horn, three clarinets, bass clarinet, saxophones (sopranino, soprano, tenor), three bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, four trumpets, four trombones, tuba; timpani, percussion; strings.
I hate listening to this work, and don’t; it’s something that gets turned off the second I hear it on the radio (and I certainly would never put this in the CD player at home!). That said, I quite enjoyed it today; seeing it live made a huge difference to me. There are some funny bits in it, almost campy – the little trombone slides in the melody, for example – and the plucking (strumming) of the violins, that made it fun to watch. There is a lot of color in this work, too, and watching and hearing the melody (that darn melody, which has been stuck in my head since the concert) move from instrument to instrument, getting to hear the trumpet’s treatment versus the tenor saxophone’s, for example, made listening to the work enjoyable.
I do like sax with my orchestral music; the sound is very sinewy and lithe and seductive, and the saxophonist’s tone today was all those things and more. Ditto the oboes and English horn. Yowza!
Järvi has a completely different conducting manner than does Vanska (I will post about the Vanska concert next). Where Vanska is fluid, Järvi is straight (I don’t mean this in a bad way, BTW). Järvi is erect, elegant and efficient and controlled in his movements. Vanska dances and showers the orchestra with emotion. He’s great to watch, but of the two, I think I’d feel more comfortable as a performer with Järvi on the podium; he is precise without any stuffiness.
Good orchestra, this.
<small>[ 08-14-2003, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: owlice ]</small>