Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Gardiner Martinů Dvořák Prom 58

Here's Douglas Cooksey on John Eliot Gardiner's Prom 58. Dvořák, Martinů, Janáček and Grieg, with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Lars Vogt. An interesting experiment hearing JEG's early music sensibilities adapted to the 20th century. Bělohlávek in this repertoire is almost unsurpassable, so idiomatic and original. Why swap conductors?  Nonetheless, I enjoyed this more than Douglas did.

OTOH, maybe I appreciated it more after the disappointment of the 2 Osmo Vänskä Proms. Someone described the Minnesota Orchestra a a well-drilled machine. Worthy and reliable, but machines don't drive themselves. How Beethoven 9 can be earthbound, I don't know. There's a point at which underplayed dynamics merge into blandness. And Alisa Weilerstein impressed me less than when I heard her with Barenboim in May. She's good, but not "that" good yet.

Vänskä  was a near contemporary at the Sibelius Academy with Magnus Lindberg, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kaija Saariaho, but unlike them stayed in rural Finland, building up a regional orchestra specializing in Sibelius and mainstream repertoire.  Moving to Minnesota wasn't quite such a leap into the unknown for  Vänskä as there are thousands of Finns in the region (where it's cold and there are forests and lakes). In fact at one stage there were more Finnish newspapers there than in Finland. Maybe what these Proms are saying is, get conductors out of their comfort zones and see how they do. Above is the Sibelius Hall in Lahti. Look, no trees! There is a harbour on the other side. When it's snowing, this glass-clad building must disappear in the mist.

No comments: