January 23, 2009

Shostakovich 5

I just wanted to share my impression from last night’s concert which I feel was the best I had heard the RPO play. Maestro Ling is an extraordinary musician and conductor and his level of intensity and depth of interpretation along with phrasing and musical tension translated to the orchestra in a way I had not yet experienced. Rebecca sounded and looked fabulous and although the repertoire in the first half may not be widely known to our audience it showed the RPO’s strength as an ensemble. Rebecca’s playing in the Nielsen was full of elegance, virtuosity as well as beautiful lyricism – all beautifully supported by the orchestra.

The Shostakovich, in the second half, however, deserves another look (listen?). This is a once in a lifetime moment for Rochester to have the combination of orchestra, conductor and the “fierce urgency of now” all in one. Our recent developments as a society fit this music in so many ways that I truly appreciated the pre concert lecture by Herb!
The visceral power of the music along with the depth of emotion, the sensitivity as well as the brutality are a sign of the then “new” modernism that still has meaning today. This music is a cultural witness of the turning point of a society. In pursuit of a new social order this grand historical experiment went from the revolution for the workers paradise to the totalitarian Stalinist nightmare that we all know today. It was a time of “either you are with us, or you are against us”.
Maestro Ling stayed away from the melodramatic and the cheap and instead brought the RPO to display the full palette of passion, color and depth that it is capable of. This was old school in the modernist tradition and it is music that signifies the triumph of humanity over oppression, including oppression of the soul and intellect.

Lots of excellent principal solos make this piece a moment to shine for our musicians and if you did not yet hear this concert I urge to go and tell everyone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr. T is not the only one who raved about this concert. Check out the review in the D&C: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20090123/LIVING/90123047/1032