There are these very rare occasions when everything is right. Yesterday was one of them. One of the greatest concerts I have ever heard, if not the greatest. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's perfection in an extremely difficult program of Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death (in Shostakovich's orchestration) and the Orchestral Suite of Stravinsky's Firebird was breathtaking. The Concertgebouw is one of the very few orchestras left today with a unique and distinguishable sound. Think of how velvet would sound and you get an idea, although you would have to add total rhythmical precision to get the complete picture.
I had never seen Mariss Jansons (the orchestra's Music Director since 2004) conduct before and now I feel I have wasted too many years waiting. He is in the very small league of greatest conductors with total control over his orchestra, yet so generous in his music-making that the results sound unbelievably spontaneous.
As if that weren't enough, Ferruccio Furlanetto was an outstanding soloist in the Mussorgsky songs. Even if you don't understand a single word of Russian (like me) his singing was so expressive and nuanced that the content of the songs became completely clear. And what a voice! My late friend Michel Glotz used to call Ferruccio "la plus grande basse au monde". I feel very happy that his appearance with the COC is slowly coming closer.
What a privilege to attend this fantastic concert thanks to the generous hospitality of the Festival's President, Helga Rabl-Stadler. Tonight we will attend the final performance of Strauss' Elektra.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
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