Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gewand Dvorak: Chailly at La Salle Pleyel

Dvorak Night, Salle Pleyel in Paris, February 28 2011

Maestro Chailly and Leonidas Kavakos

The Carnival Overture
Violin Concerto in A-minor
Symphony no.7

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Leonidas Kavakos, violin

Always exciting to see  Riccardo Chailly has not the same kind of aura in Paris, as Daniel Barenboim for instance, but his name is a synonymous for one of those sure values that never cease to attract numerous classical music lovers in Paris, so La Salle Pleyel was full on this night. This was a concert on my not-to-miss-list as I wanted to hear Gewandhäuser performing live and in a repertory I'm not particularly crazy about.

I should be clearer: I love Rusalka, I love the Dvorak's 9th..., but I am not crazy about his Slavonic Dances that the first piece in this program resembled a lot. If I was to phrase it in one sentence then The Carnival Overture is roughly a Slavonic Dance with a ladle of lacrimosa effects.  

Dvorak's Violin Concerto was more interesting, especially because of Leonidas Kavakos whom this concerto fit like a glove. There the orchestra really gave him a fantastic support and I particularly appreciated the lyricism of the second part Adagio ma non troppo. [Too bad the last part again brought back the Slavonic Dances tunes.] The enthusiastic crowd was  responsive and Leonidas offered us a 100% solo encore. Bravo!

Ricardo Chailly, Leonidas Kavakos, and the members of Das Gewandhausorchester
In the last part this excellent orchestra performed a Symphony Dvorak dedicated to Hans von Bülow.  Whether it's part of the getting old process or I'm not too crazy about the  folklore-inspired Symphonies, but the truth is that again I liked the most the slow part of the score: Second mvt - Poco Adagio. There the orchestra was illustrating the meaning of that undefinable 'petit quelquechose' that separates these great orchestra from the very good ones: strings' finesse, and superb winds.
It may sound a cliché but in this case I believe Chailly really brought this technically brilliant orchestra his dynamism, his Southern enthusiasm and his contagious joy to perform, and the result is really pleasant, not-routinely, concert evening. Thanks guys!

I'm glad to have discovered Dvorak's 7th, but I still wish I could listen to this orchestra performing one of the Mahler's symphonies.

I'll be waiting for their next appearance in Paris -- whatever the program they come up with.

I just saw on the Gewindhausorchester's website that the orchestra performed identical program in Leipzig a few weeks ago and the video is available for free-viewing (see here) Enjoy!


  1. Thanks for posting this video link. Do you know of a website that keeps up with such links in order for people to find the links intentionally instead of by accident?

  2. I've just disovered your blog and I'm guessing you hve much experience with live concerts in Eurpoe.

    It's my impression that many of the Europeoan musicicnas play with more pyhsical vigor, body English in other words, than the American orchestra.

    As in this Gewandhaus concert you linked to above, even the percussion look happy and the 2nd bassoon looks like he might jump out of his chair.

    What do you think.