Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Anemic Strauss at Cité de la Musique

Metamorphosen - R.Strauss
Piano Concerto #20 - Mozart
Also sprach Zarathustra - R.Strauss

Strange evening at Cité de la Musique. Maybe I expected too much, or the organizers didn't really know how to find a proper equilibrium when programming this concert to find a program that would suit well the Orchestra and the visiting conductor. Or it's a combination of two?!

Andris Nelsons is one of the most talented and the most accomplished conductors of his generation, and to begin the concert with Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss was not the best idea. This delicate music to work with the audience requires particularly inspired performers -- all 24 string soloists, and the conductor-- and a total complicity among them. This latter element painfully lacked: Andris Nelsons and  Orchestre de Paris did not collaborate before and you do not develop that kind of complicity in one day to bring Metamorphosen to life. Naturally, the piece fell flat after a couple of minutes and this part of the concert was actually boring even for me who like all-Strauss and who like Nelsons' talent.

The situation improved a bit during the performance of The Piano Concerto #20 by Mozart in which Nelsons and Orchestre de Paris accompanied the young Romanian phenom, Mihaela Ursuleasa. It was nice and sweet but even there the packed auditorium wasn't getting enough to be enthusiastic. 

As expected, the situation was much better in the second part when the Orchestra performed Also sprach Zarathustra. This always works with the crowd and it was also simpler for Nelsons and Orchestre de Paris to adjust as this music is so often performed. Result: a fine but still somewhat  'lifeless' performance.

An OK-ish concert that didn't live up to expectations.
Better luck next time...


  1. A very good review - honest but not unkind!!!! Bravo.

  2. One of the virtues of your reviews is your fairness and even-tempered rhetoric. (Of course, we all have our preferences and biases, and you are no exception.) Some critics or bloggers like to use very strong words and tone as if they were puking. We readers, unfortunately, end up smelling their vomit.

    Thanks for your great work!