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Paavo Järvi ‘s superb Bruckner cycle continues with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich – Seen and Heard Worldwide


Switzerland Messaien, Bernstein, Bruckner: Janine Jansen (violin), Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich / Paavo Järvi (conductor). Tonhalle, Zurich, 5.11.2022. (JR)

Janine Jansen © Marco Borggreve

Messaien L’Ascension (4 symphonic meditations for orchestra)

Bernstein Serenade after Plato’s ‘Symposium’

Bruckner – Symphony No.3 (Third model, 1889)

Messaien has his followers and Paavo Järvi is clearly one in all them. Järvi carried out L’Ascension (4 symphonic meditations for orchestra) in 2019 within the Tonhalle and I did surprise why on this live performance he selected to repeat it so shortly. Messaien composed L’Ascension on the age of 24, in 1932. It’s a surprisingly mature, refined work and Messaien’s distinctive soundworld is already clearly audible. The work is in 4 sections, all with spiritual subtitles alluding to Christ’s admiration for his father or hallelujahs for souls trying to find heaven. The primary part is for brass alone, an extended chorale which has its technical challenges for the trumpet part, very effectively mastered by principal trumpet Philippe Litzler. The second motion is given over to the woodwind, Messaien including whirring strings. The third and uplifting motion brings some levity, Messaien including percussion, cymbals and tambourine. Lastly, within the final motion, a string lament. Orchestral colors shimmer all through; many within the viewers have been clearly a lot taken by the work.

Bernstein’s Serenade after Plato’s ‘Symposium’ hails from 1954 and is for solo violin, strings and no fewer than six percussionists. Bernstein learn Plato and drew inspiration from Plato’s Symposium, a dialogue of associated statements in reward of affection. The violin is distinguished, representing the speaker, and it’s nearly a violin concerto. Bernstein composed in many various kinds and genres; such was the genius of the person. The Serenade has hardly any enjoyable: that is the Bernstein of the Harvard lectures, not the populist Bernstein of West Facet Story, Candide, On the City, and never each listener takes to his extra meditative, educational writing. It doesn’t have instantaneous enchantment; the temper is especially critical. There’s a quick Scherzo/Fugato part which is entertaining, and a lyrical Adagio (Fourth Part) the place Jansen had the lightest of touches. Jansen skittered over her instrument with consummate talent, it was a tour de power which garnered enormous acclaim from viewers and orchestra alike. The orchestra blended its dialogue with the soloist to perfection; I spotlight (pretty) new cello principal Paul Handschke’s superb solo at the beginning of Part 5. Solely on the finish of the ultimate part does Bernstein let his hair down, all six percussionists coming to the fore.

Bruckner’s Third Symphony was one which benefited, after a disastrous première, from a a lot later revision by the composer and his pupil Franz Schalk, shortening it significantly. It’s Bruckner for freshmen, easy, fundamental melodies, a lot allure, and trademark full stops at common intervals. Järvi and his orchestra gave a efficiency of recording high quality; certainly, it was recorded for the Bruckner cycle. You may assure that – regardless of warning indicators within the lobby – throughout virtually any recording of a dwell live performance, there will likely be a shuffling within the viewers and a cell phone will go off within the quietest passage, a problem to the engineers.

The primary efficiency of this symphony within the Tonhalle was in March 1903 carried out by Richard Strauss. Though performed often ever since, its final outing within the Tonhalle was in 1991, so over thirty years in the past. It has turn out to be a lot much less standard than Bruckner’s later symphonies and actually solely comes out if a cycle is in preparation. A disgrace, as it’s a superb early work, far superior to these which got here earlier than it (question whether or not symphonies 0, 00, 1 and a pair of will likely be within the boxed set).

Järvi performed the symphony loud as is his wont, however there was a lot grandeur, particularly within the Adagio, the place the trumpets shone out. The Scherzo was most entertaining, a pleasure from starting to finish, aggressive and jaunty, with intermediate accentuated dance-like sections which Järvi relished. The second violins made their mark.

The ultimate motion was the least coherent, maybe essentially the most crudely composed, however the efficiency obtained rapturous applause and can make a superb addition to the recorded cycle, when lastly launched.

John Rhodes

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