When the orchestra of the Munich Philharmonic makes a sound, it makes a glorious sound. Whether, in the end, you agree with the use to which they – or their conductor Christian Thielemann – use that sound, there is no avoiding to be impressed.
Indeed, if you had to judge the top three orchestras in Munich by just one chord – like the opening statement of Schumann’s Manfred Overture – the Munich Philharmonic would come out on top. As it were, the program on November 29th was (once again) built around the orchestra’s sound with the Schumann overture having been accompanied by Pfitzner and Strauss orchestral songs and a grand finale in the form of Schumann’s reappearance with the Requiem in D-flat op.148.
Strauss, Complete Orchestral Songs,
Haider / Niece PO /
Pieczonka, Gruberova, Howarth, Petrova, Straka, Skovhus, Moll
Tristan & Isolde, "Dip Your Ears, No. 7"(July 20, 2004)
Bruckner, Sy.5, "Slow Food for the Ears"(April 24, 2005)
Parsifal, "This is Thielemann's Parsifal"(May 25, 2006)
"Thielemann's Secret Work at Bayreuth"(September 01, 2006)
Concert with the MPHIL, "Strauss with Thielemann" (Saturday, October 27, 2007)
Since Pfitzner has a political PR problem and there are plenty who will resist his music (and performances thereof) on grounds of his unfortunate proximity to the National Socialist regime (not possibly any closer than Herbert von Karajan, one may add), dedicated performances are all the more necessary. Thielemann can be relied upon for that – though his advocacy alone won’t be enough.
And he almost didn’t do Pfitzner any favors with the second half of the concert: ‘Rescuing’ the Schumann Requiem for soloists, choir, and orchestra in D-flat major from relative obscurity, with a performance that was nothing short of superlative, might justly have reduced any review of the first half to a short paragraph.
R.Schumann, Requiem op.148,
Klee / Düsseldorf SO /
Donath, Soffel, Gedda, Dieskau