Honeck Honors Strauss

Manfred Honeck

Published: April 11, 2014

MUNICH — Watching Manfred Honeck lead the Munich Philharmonic in Strauss last Sunday (April 6), a question came to mind. Why isn’t this the man replacing Lorin Maazel next year?

With refreshing conviction and broad arm gestures à la Carlos Kleiber, Honeck drew polished performances from the orchestra in three contrasted scores; the horns played dazzlingly. He waltzed with shrewd abandon through the 1944 Rosenkavalier-Suite, injecting drama and nailing Artur Rodziński’s (or is it really Strauss’s?) hearty coda. He elegantly accompanied in the Vier letzte Lieder (1948) as Anja Harteros painted the words and sent ravishing soprano tones around the acoustically deficient Gasteig hall. Perfect flute trills graced Im Abendrot. If her consonants did not always project, blame the architect. After the break, the Pittsburgh-based conductor richly indulged the melodies of Ein Heldenleben (1898), a work he played in Vienna under Kleiber 21 years ago, and he managed its counterpoint to gripping effect. Sreten Krstič’s sweet and poised but light-bodied solo violin fit in neatly. The MPhil will repeat the program tomorrow in New York, where Fabio Luisi conducts.

Photo © Felix Broede

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