Culture Magazine

Concert Review: The Rose Lines of...Vienna?

By Superconductor

Concert Review: The Rose Lines of...Vienna?

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Daniele Gatti conducts the Orchestre National de France
Sunday afternoon at Avery Fisher Hall featured a concert by the Orchestre National de France, which rang down the curtain on this year's Symphonic Masters series sponsored by Lincoln Center itself. The concert saw the French orchestra offering a unique perspective on German music. Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto was paired with the dancing waltz rhythms of Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel. Daniele Gatti conducted.
The concert opened with the Beethoven, switching the normal order of putting the short piece (Ravel's La valse) first and the concerto second. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet played the solo part with great intensity of attack, making a staccato entry in the first movement and taing a relentless approach to Beethoven's cadenzas.
In this opening movement, M. Bavouzet  kept his foot off the pedal, preferring to let the notes jump from his fingers. He played with great dexterity if not especial warmth. It was as if he chose to take all of Beethoven's inspiration and hone it to a single keen point.
The performance was more lyrical in the next two movements: the laid-back Largo and the lilting Rondo. M. Bavouzet's tone also mellowed in the slow movement, sweeping through Beethoven's challenging cadenzas and playing with a somewhat sweeter tone.
Mr. Gatti provided skilled, if not especially distinguished accompaniment, letting M. Bavouzet dominate the proceedings. If the ONF has a distinctive section, it is in their woodwinds. The French bassoons (most American orchestras use the German Heckel models) provides a different timbre to these ears, a rich, ruby sound that complements the strings and warm brass.
The orchestra doubled in size for the Suite from Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, twenty minutes of potpurri from the German composer's popular comic opera. The problem with playing these exceprts was two-fold. By eliminating the voice, the silvered, lyric quality of a soprano (or mezzo) soaring over Strauss' scintillating orchestration is lost. (An English or French horn does not cut it, no matter how beautifully it is played.) Mr. Gatti also struggled to bring his band to a ribald, Viennese climax--but the overall effect was one of politeness and competence.
The musicians looked and sounded a lot happier playing La valse, Maurice Ravel's 1919 ballet score. It was with this piece that the potential and power of this French orchestra finally barrelled forth. La valse is a less famous cousin of Bolero, with more musical development as it surges to a fortissimo climax.Concert Review: The Rose Lines of...Vienna?Concert Review: The Rose Lines of...Vienna?

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Concert Review: Revelation Calling

    Bruckner's Ninth Brings Cleveland Residency to a Mystic Close Anton Bruckner: Master of the Mystic Arts. He composed, too. The final installment of Bruckner... Read more

    The 18 July 2011 by   Superconductor
  • Concert Review: Broadway At Last

    Nielsen and Stravinsky mark RDO's Overdue Debut Royal Danish Orchestra's Music Director Michael Schønwandt. The art of programming symphony concerts is a... Read more

    The 29 July 2011 by   Superconductor
  • Concert Review: Mozart Goes Last, But Comes First

    Mostly Mozart, with Joshua Bell at Avery Fisher Hall. Violinist Joshua Bell, and four-stringed friend. Photo courtesy Lincoln Center. Read more

    The 06 August 2011 by   Superconductor
  • Concert Review: Between Sacred Songs, a Secular Symphony

    Ivan Fischer puts the Jupiter Symphony in context. Ivan Fischer demonstrates a new baton technique. Photo courtesy the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment... Read more

    The 12 August 2011 by   Superconductor
  • Concert Review: Ludwig Takes Over

    All-Beethoven program rocks Mostly Mozart Beethoven, walking to Lincoln Center. Well, not really. Mozart was entirely absent from Friday night's Mostly Mozart... Read more

    The 13 August 2011 by   Superconductor
  • Concert Review: The Emersons' Endgame

    At Mostly Mozart: Final quartets from four composers. String theory: Philip Setzer, Eugene Drucker, Lawrence Dutton and David Finckel. Ladies and gentlemen,... Read more

    The 16 August 2011 by   Superconductor
  • Concert Review: Youths Gone Wild

    French pianist, conductor debut at Mostly Mozart. Debut artist: French pianist Bertrand Chamayou. Photo by Laura Vaconi for Naïve Classics One of the joys of... Read more

    The 24 August 2011 by   Superconductor

Add a comment