Kavakos Premieres Dutilleux's 'L’Arbre des Songes'

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Ivan Fischer. Ivan Fischer. (Marco Borggreve/Budapest Festival Orchestra)

Thursday at 9 pm, Ivan Fischer leads violinist Leonidas Kavakos and the New York Philharmonic in the world premiere of L'Arbre des Songes by Henri Dutilleux, whose centennial is this year (he was born on Jan. 22, 1916).

The program also includes a pair of 20th century works: Bela Bartók's Rumanian Folk Dances and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2.

Conductor: Ivan Fischer
Soloist: Leonidas Kavakos, violin

Béla Bartók: Rumanian Folk Dances
Henri Dutilleux: L’Arbre des Songes (New York Philharmonic premiere)
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

An interesting program was chosen by Mr. Fisscher. The Barto'k "Rumanian Folk Dances" were thoroughly enjoyable and one wished for more of them when the work ended. The Dutilleux violin concerto first played and recorded by Isaac Stern left me feeling the same as I did when I heard Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto a few weeks ago: the orchestral part interested me much more than did the solo part. Dutilleux's concept of form and variation was such that he sometimes presented a variation before the principal subject matter. Despite knowing that, it didn't persuade me to listen to it again. The movement tempo indications are Librement - Interlude; Vif - Interlude 2 - Lent - Interlude 3 and Large et anime'. The Rachmaninoff Second Symphony performance was problematical to me right from the start in that the strings sounded overpowered by the brass --- the low brass shone throughout --- and there was little lushness and intensity of vibrato from the strings that the music calls for. The opening movement's principal material was played with rubato which sounded curious. The subsidiary themes in both the first and second movements sounded more convincing --- more "romantic", but a big stumbling block for me was the "con moto" section in the second movement that was played too slowly to the point of losing the line altogether: where the pedal point occurs in the low horns, tuba and contrabasses. The third and final movements were the most convincing: the clarinet solo meltingly beautiful in the slow movement to the point of bringing tears to my eyes; and the rollicking good spirits of the last movement blazed forth in the principal material and were reinforced by the glockenspiel, snare drum, cymbals and bass drum. If only the strings played fortissimo throughout --- they sounded too anemic when playing the sometimes asked for soft passages --- perhaps employed free bowing that Leopold Stokowski sometimes asked for and there were more in number, this might have been a monumental performance. What was needed here was an Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra sound, likewise Stokowski/Los Angeles Philharmonic sound when he guest conducted that orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl.

Feb. 07 2016 11:35 AM

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