An auspicious debut for Cristian Măcelaru with music from his native Japanese Europe – Seen and Heard Worldwide


Switzerland Enescu, Bartók, Dvořák: Lucas Jussen and Arthur Jussen (piano), Christian Hartmann (timpani), Andreas Berger and Klaus Schwärzler (percussion). Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich / Cristian Măcelaru (conductor). Tonhalle, Zurich, 6.10.2022. (JR)

Cristian Macelaru © Adriane White

Enescu Romanian Rhapsody No.1
Bartók – Concerto for 2 pianos, percussion and orchestra, Sz 115
Dvořák – Symphony No.8, Op.88

Few music lovers exterior his native Romania know lots of the works by George Enescu. He’s maybe greatest recognized for his Romanian Rhapsodies; these are early works, written within the composer’s early twenties, and remind one instantly of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances. The Rhapsodies turned Enescu’s hottest composition, somewhat to his chagrin, bitterly resenting the best way they’d dominated and narrowed his popularity as a composer; he had not likely developed his personal type by then. The work relies on quite a lot of Romanian people tunes, impressed by Hungarian melodies and instrumentation. Six songs and dances are quoted within the piece. Lyrical rustic scenes with woodwind to the fore are juxtaposed with fiery outbursts from the whole orchestra. It’s a pleasant piece, the frenetic whirlwind sections make it an satisfying crowd-pleaser, even whether it is considerably of a trifle. Felix-Andreas Genner returned from current retirement to play principal clarinet, with nice distinction.


Lucas and Arthur Jussen © Marco Borggreve

The Dutch Jussen brothers are nonetheless of their twenties and appear to have a following of adoring adolescents. They’re slim, blond, nattily attired and ran on to and off the stage like excited schoolboys. They’re stuffed with power however somewhat mannered of their type of enjoying. Distractingly, they bounced up and down like a few jack-in-the-boxes. The concerto for 2 pianos, percussion and orchestra is far much less recognized than Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste. The concerto suffers from a somewhat uninteresting opening and soporific gradual motion, redeemed solely within the closing motion, stuffed with jaunty rhythmic depth (performed twice on the work’s première). Christian Hartmann, Klaus Schwärzler and Andreas Berger added their percussive contributions with aplomb. It stays to be seen whether or not both (or each) the Jussen brothers will go their very own solution to develop a solo profession.

This was Cristian Măcelaru’s debut with the orchestra and he definitely made the grade, in music which is clearly in his blood. Măcelaru was guided within the early levels of his conducting profession by former Tonhalle Orchestra Principal Conductor David Zinman; he stepped in for Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony some ten years in the past. Măcelaru is now Principal Conductor of the WDR (West German Radio) Symphony Orchestra and Musical Director of the Orchestre Nationwide de France. He’s additionally Creative Director of the George Enescu Worldwide Competitors in Romania. Whereas the stage was being re-arranged for the Bartók, Măcelaru grabbed the microphone and informed us at size how people music has enriched all our lives – I might have performed with out that.

Măcelaru guided the orchestra skilfully by Dvořák’s widespread and uplifting Eighth Symphony. He by no means put a foot (or baton) fallacious. I final heard the work underneath Gianandrea Noseda, who was a mite extra fiery, whereas Măcelaru was extra all the way down to earth, usually heavyweight. Within the orchestra, the rasping trombones and horn part led by Mischa Greull caught consideration, as did the golden flute of Sabine Poyé-Morel. I think Zurich will see and listen to extra of Măcelaru in future.

John Rhodes


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