Webmaster: Len Mullenger
Seen and Heard International Concert Review
Bartók, Dutilleux, Rachmaninoff: Leonidas Kavakos, violin, New York Philharmonic, Iván Fischer, conductor, Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, 3.12.2995 (BH)
Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances, BB 76 (1915; orch. 1917)
Dutilleux: L’Arbre des Songes (Tree of Dreams): Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1979-85)
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 (1906-08)
It takes a master to freshen up Rachmaninoff’s Second
Symphony, and that’s exactly who was at the helm
on Saturday night, when Iván Fischer led a bracing evening with the New York Philharmonic.
From the beginning (and using the complete, uncut
version of the piece), Fischer chose swift-but-not-too-fast
tempi and maintained precise rhythms that prevented
the work from becoming cloying.
This tight rein was just the beginning of what
turned into one of the finest performances of this symphony
I have ever heard, but it was accuracy coupled with
humanity that made the reading so powerful.
The second movement was a joy: the composer as
an ebullient, fleet-footed Mercury, and the gorgeous
Adagio, with some haunting playing by Stanley
Drucker on clarinet, was utterly devoid of syrup – only tender
elegance that reached its apex in the climax with the
strings, high above the stave, in the closing measures.
In the final movement, Fischer revealed much
more inner detail (and it’s all in the score) than some
who merely make a wild grab for the melodies, beautiful
though they are. This was a well-thought case for a
piece that is too often played by rote.