Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Conducts Beethoven and Strauss

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, featuring New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow in the concertmaster solos.

Program details:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 8

R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

Those expecting a rather literal performance of Beethoven's Eighth Symphony, I imagine, were shocked --- as I was --- that Maestro Fruh"beck had the courage of his convictions to offer an interpretation of the work such as may have been au courant around the end of the nineteenth and turn of the twentieth century. The tempos in all movements seemed altogether right. But interpretation showed right from the start. The entire initial four-bar statement wasn't played forte; the first two bars were, but there was a pronounced diminuendo in the following two which, to my ears, weakened the forcefullness. In the development section, there was more timpani heard than is customery: a revelation and a plus in my opinion. There was a rallantando at the end of the movement starting two bars before the movement's end. The second movement, from which Beethoven wrote a round with voices dedicated to Maa"lzel of metronome fame, also had a rallantando at the end. The third movement, "Tempo di Menuetto", is a harkening back to Haydn and Mozart; and the horns, clarinet and 'cellos were lovely in the Trio section. The last movement with a triplet figure resembling drums, was at a tempo that didn't blur the individual notes. There were pronounced rallantandos two bars before the intentionally discordant C-sharps every time the passage occured. There was a very marked slowing of tempo lasting several bars before the recapitulation began, coming up to the movement's tempo for the coda. In celebration of Strauss, whose "Ein Heldenleben" is a glory of the late romantic era's orchestral apparatus, was a triumph. I envy those who attended the concert. High praise must go to Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster, clarinet, oboe,English horn, bassoon, horns, tenor and bass tubas. To be fair, every instrument should be praised. The New York Philharmonic has a long history with Strauss dating from the 1928 Victor recording of the work with Willem Mengelberg, its dedicate'e along with the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam.

Jan. 26 2014 02:31 PM

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