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Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich in high quality performances of Pärt, Beethoven and Bruckner – Seen and Heard Worldwide


Switzerland Pärt, Beethoven, Bruckner: Rudolf Buchbinder (piano), Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich / Paavo Järvi (conductor). Tonhalle, Zurich, 27.10.2022. (VL)

Rudolf Buchbinder

Pärt Cantus in Reminiscence of Benjamin Britten for string orchestra and bell
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No.4, Op.58
Bruckner – Symphony No.6, WAB 106

The Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich introduced its viewers with a veritable feast for the ears. We began with a piece by Paavo Järvi’s shut pal Arvo Pärt, adopted by works by Beethoven and Bruckner. Not solely was a broad spectrum of epochs coated, the combination of various musical types comparable to symphony and piano concerto left nothing to be desired.

Pärt’s works recurrently discover their method into the programme of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, and fairly rightly so – the Estonian conductor surprises with a sheer pressure in probably the most numerous compositions.

The Cantus in Reminiscence of Benjamin Britten was composed, because the identify suggests, in reminiscence of Benjamin Britten, whom he tremendously admired however sadly was by no means in a position to meet in individual. The composition comes at a time when Pärt thought-about himself mature sufficient to recognise the importance and magnitude of such a loss.

The piece itself begins in absolute silence, which is then interrupted by delicate bell sounds, at first hardly recognisable as such, however which develop into extra outstanding because the piece progresses. The strings start, taking part in descending tone sequences repeatedly, so completely coordinated and flowing into one another that the listener feels a way of infinite depth and heaviness and on the similar time a way of flight, of a deep fall. Sturdy feelings are triggered and the composer’s intention turns into clear. It was intensely transferring.

Rudolf Buchbinder is considered one of many main interpreters of Beethoven’s works and is probably for that reason additionally described as his most loyal fan. He has by no means studied any composer as intensively as he has studied Beethoven. The Austrian pianist can also be very aware of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich: in 2019 they each gave a visitor efficiency in Warsaw on the event of the Beethoven Easter Pageant.

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 will not be solely some of the particular piano concertos composed on the time, but additionally to today. He composed the concerto round 1805 throughout his ‘heroic interval’. This was the most efficient section in his inventive biography, regardless of his listening to impairment, throughout which he developed his distinctive type. Beethoven carried out the piece himself in 1808 on the Theater an der Wien. It was to be Beethoven’s final live performance at which he himself carried out in public as a pianist – the agony of his listening to situation was rising.

What makes the piece so particular: Beethoven lets the solo voice begin the concerto alone. That is adopted by a delicate use of the strings, which swell powerfully within the motion’s additional course to unleash their full quantity. Järvi conducts along with his traditional power, loud, with out nevertheless ever changing into too loud, {powerful}, decided, solely to lapse into light lightness once more shortly afterwards, in order that the solo voice is given a solution to re-enter after a break of about 70 bars. In comparison with different interpretations, Järvi doesn’t fall into an intermediate lethargy, relatively he pays consideration to a relentless, reasonable tempo and thus does excellent justice to the Allegro Moderato.

The strings present a robust opening to the second motion. Right here, too, Järvi doesn’t spare power to type a stark distinction to the light solo voice of the piano. On this method, he reinforces a attribute of Beethoven: the tutti and solo voices are just about by no means heard collectively. Whereas the orchestra creates an lively, sombre temper, the piano counters it gently. The background of the work has been assumed to be, amongst different issues, about Orpheus and his story of woe. This drama is especially evident on this second motion.

The longed-for concord is then delivered to the listener within the third motion. Solo voice and orchestra lastly discover one another within the type of the light and harmonic motifs of the solo voice within the earlier actions.

It was actually a feast to look at the pianist let his arms fly over the piano keyboard with such ease. There was hardly a contact to be discerned, the actions and the ensuing sequences of notes had been so fluid, so harmonious, that this image completely rounded off the listening expertise. At occasions, the diligent tone sequences had been harking back to Saint-Saëns’s Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals. As an encore, Buchbinder performed the finale from Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata.

After the break, Bruckner’s Sixth. For a lot of, this symphony marks a turning level in Bruckner’s inventive course of – it’s the first symphony that he didn’t revise, he thought-about it excellent. He describes it as his ‘sauciest’. For the reason that starting of 2022, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich has been performing a Bruckner cycle beneath the course of Paavo Järvi, which is to increase over a number of seasons.

Within the first motion, {powerful} and heroic tone sequences are heard nearly right away. Already after about 5 minutes, one finds oneself in a musical complexity – at this second, six layers of rhythmic layering happen concurrently. That kind of pondering – and that kind of sound – blows out of the water the concept Bruckner was writing items that had been rough-hewn or unfinished. All through the motion, the stunning flute performed by Sabine Poyé Morel was significantly audible.

The Adagio is certainly one of Bruckner’s most heart-breaking gradual actions. It accommodates a repetitive melody strongly harking back to a funeral march. Proper firstly, a plaintive oboe is heard, splendidly carried out by oboist Simon Fuchs. We hear {powerful} brass, and Järvi as soon as once more is aware of the best way to play skilfully with the tonal strengths.

The boldness talked about firstly is probably nowhere extra evident than within the third motion, the Scherzo. Particularly for its environment of feverish harmonic ambiguity and nearly grotesque textural contrasts: the unsettling pounding of the cellos and double basses, the scratchy staccatos within the violas and second violins; the glittering filament of the excessive unison line within the woodwinds; and people looking out arpeggios within the first violins that appear to dream of a harmonic stability that the remainder of the orchestral texture stubbornly refuses to embrace – all within the first ten bars.

The Finale items us with delicate strings and alternately powerful-sounding brass, on the finish of which, Bruckner leaves us considerably unhappy: all of the tangles which have been spun to date don’t come collectively as anticipated in direction of the top of the motion and so the symphonic drama appears to stay open.

In a really latest article within the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Järvi explains that he has a mission: to make the Tonhalle Orchestra one of many world’s biggest. The live performance this night was rewarded with standing ovations, proving that the Tonhalle-Orchester is effectively on the highway to reaching Järvi’s goal.

Valérie Litz

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