Sunday, 22 August 2010

Nézet-Séguin Beethoven Wagner Prom 48

The Royal Albert Hall was sold out for Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Prom 48.  He conducts regularly with the London Philharmonic, and was last at the Proms with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  Unlike many superhunk heroes, he's built a solid reputation.

It's good that nowadays conductors are international.  It gives them a perspective single-city orchestras don't have.  Nézet-Séguin came to London this time with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He's getting good results.  In the Overture from Tannhãuser the balance between pilgrims and profligates was deftly balanced, both themes united in the sheer beauty of the music.

Less successful, for me, was Simon Keenlyside's Mahler Rückert Lieder. I'm fond of Keenlyside more as an opera singer than as a Lieder singer. While this was a perfectly creditable performance it didn't penetrate specially deeply. Perhaps it's fine for the Proms, but catch it in smaller-scale recital, and with a Mahler specialist, for proper effect.

No qualms at all about the Rotterdammers' Beethoven's Symphony No 3. Nézet-Séguin's personal stamp on the old favourite is interesting, an indication that as a conductor he thinks from the score, the sign of  a true musician. The Rotterdammers are mature enough to take new ideas on board, because music never exists in a hermetically sealed vacuum. Philadelphia should be grateful that they can get a conductor of this calibre. Nézet-Séguin may be young, but he's not putty. Hopefully the orchestra will realize that it's a conductor's job to have vision. Today I came across a lovely article on a Philadelphia gay website extolling Nézet-Séguin's virtues, so at least he'll have some enthusiastic support!  Incidentally, maybe there's a hidden message in Tannhãuser. Christoph von Eschenbach gets his name from a descendant of the real-life Eschenbach, who adopted him when he was a war orphan, too traumatized to speak. When his maternal aunt (married to von Eschenbach) put the boy in front of a piano, the boy came out of his shell.

Photo credit : Marco Borggreve

No comments: