Daniel Ginsberg, NSO Makes the Most of a Thin Connection (Washington Post, December 15)
A.Ginastera, Concerto per corde op.33 et al., Orchestre de Lancy-Geneve / Sawicki
The second movement slowly creeps to a point of penetration of the open mind; playful and coy all along. The third movement Adagio angoscioso calmly gathers the energy it needs for release in the stunning Finale furioso - the only movement that is not derived from Ginastera’s Second String Quartet which served as the (much adapted) model for his op. 33. Indeed, there are plenty passages that sound like an orchestrated string quartet – with more than just a dose of Bartók here and there. Those above mentioned ‘conservative’ ears may, for all the work’s charm, fail to be won over upon first hearing… even after the finale, which should do the trick, though. A beast of fury, driving the music to a climax and near-breaking point with its irregular rhythms and sheer volume. Why the result was much more muted than expected – lack of enthusiasm on part of the conductor was certainly not the problem – I do not know. To hear the warm (if neither unanimous nor enthusiastic) reception it received, however, was heartening.
Saint-Saëns, Piano Concertos, Hough / Orama
Saint-Saëns, Piano Concertos, Roge / Dutoit
Dausgaard, Swedish Ch.O.
Barenboim, Berlin Sta.Kap.
And Beethoven it was with the NSO: brisk, energetic, and ironfisted in the first movement, with deliberate delicacy, a dry gait in the second, temperately paced with subtlety in the third movement before that great release into the joyful sound that is the finale. Save for the third movement (Allegro), the whole affair was crisp, fast, but not hurried. The playing was very fine and amounted, in an understated way, to one of the best performances I have heard from the NSO under Slatkin this season.
The performance will be repeated tonight at 7PM and tomorrow, Saturday, at 8PM.