The Artistry of Kurt Masur

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Kurt Masur Kurt Masur (Radio France / Christophe Abramowitz)

Music director emeritus Kurt Masur returns to the New York Philharmonic to lead the orchestra in this performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, featuring soloists Sylvia McNair, Florence Quivar, Stuart Neill, and Rene Pape, as well as Dvorak's Cello Concerto performed by Yo-Yo Ma.


Dvorak: Cello Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9


Kurt Masur, Conductor
Yo-Yo Ma, Cello
Sylvia McNair, Soprano
Florence Quivar, Mezzo-Soprano
Stuart Neill, Tenor
Rene Papé, Bass

Comments [1]

Les Bernstein from Miami, Florida

This re-broadcast of Beethoven's Ninth from 31 December 1999 is truly one for the ages! Of the five Toscanini performances of the Ninth Symphony and Furtwa"ngler at Bayreuth performances that I treasure, as well as those by Erich Kleiber, Koussevitzky, Stokowski and Leinsdorf, Maestro Masur's is my favorite. The intensity and articulation throughout the work, including the slow movement, were truly gripping. There was a slight horn solo rallentando three before "Lo stesso tempo" in the third movement as well as one in the fourth movement, three before letter M in the Kalmus miniature score at which the chorus enters with "Freude, scho"ne..." and continues until the "Andante maestoso" section. The contrabasses and 'cellos' phrasing and articulation of their "in the character of a recitative but in tempo" were carefully planned with great care taken to separate the legato and staccato notes. Rene Pape' was majesty itself in his "O Freunde..." with the grace note intentionally omitted. The real revelation was the timpani part, as Maestro Masur explained in his pre-concert remarks. In the fourth movement "Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato" that I love so much with verses one and three combined, I loved hearing the "Freude..." theme in the horn very prominent, as well as the timpani ostinato: all too many times one is prominent and the other isn't. In the second movement, especially telling was the first fortissimo articulation of the three-note motive, followed by a forte, followed by a piano. The intensity and ferocity of the second movement were just that. I only wish Beethoven himself could have heard the performance. I am in awe of Maestro Masur's revelatory performance as well as all of the performers involved; and I urge all music lovers/students to hear this performance, no matter how well you know it. I listened to it again as broadcast on WXXI-Rochester. Enjoy yourselves!

Jun. 10 2012 07:04 PM

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