Posts Tagged ‘Fünf Orchesterstücke’

Modern Treats, and Andsnes

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Eivind Gullberg Jensen

Published: October 6, 2013

MUNICH — The 1909 candy-box essays by Schönberg and Webern, Fünf Orchesterstücke and Sechs Stücke, can pass by gratuitously in uncommitted hands. Not so yesterday (Oct. 5) in a Munich Philharmonic program pairing them with Beethoven concertos.

Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen, calm and assured, drew incisive, expressive performances. It has been a few seasons since we heard the orchestra on such form: the sly curlicues and jocular punches of Schönberg’s (Opus 16) First Piece contrasting bluntly with the foggy stasis and lunacy of his Third and Fourth; Webern’s sparing, pastoral collection (Opus 6) emerging in uncompromised dynamic extremes, much challenged by the Munich concert hall’s acoustics. A rare treat.

Leif Ove Andsnes’s luxuriant traversals of Beethoven’s Second and Fourth Piano Concertos felt like afterthoughts in context. Gullberg Jensen enforced elegance in the accompaniment to the awkward Second (in B-flat) after the Schönberg, at tempos somewhat drawn out. In the Fourth (G Major), which followed the Webern and was again taken leisurely, but with a firm pulse, Andsnes made impeccable sense of the lines and related Beethoven’s thoughts handsomely to each other. The MPhil played just as well in the concertos, reduced to half its size after the Modern scores.

Many seats were empty. It appears that the Lorin Maazel tenure is a negative for subscriber box-office, and high single-ticket prices deter spontaneous attendance at the disfigured 1985 Gasteig venue, even to hear a star pianist. The marketing staff must wish a pox on the city bureaucrats who drove former Generalmusikdirektor Christian Thielemann to Dresden.

Still image from video © Philharmonie Luxembourg

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