Mariss Jansons, conductor
Sibelius, Violin Ccncerto | Rachmaninov, Symphony No. 2
Beethoven / Britten
Bruch / Mendelssohn
This was a performance that was sultry, almost oddly so, at its best in the smoky introduction to the first movement for example, its tense and dramatic opening supported by a hushed string section. The tone could be searing and throaty -- at least from our place closer to the stage (other
Rachmaninov, Symphony No. 2, Detroit Symphony Orchestra,
(released on January 26, 2010)
Naxos 8.572458 | 60'43"
If any orchestra and any conductor could make me do exactly that, however, it would be the Royal Concertgebouw and Mariss Jansons. The orchestra made what is probably the best Rachmaninov symphony cycle, with Vladimir Ashkenazy, if you do happen to be a fan, including the uncut version of the second symphony, which they also played here -- all fifty-odd minutes of glorious, eye-rolling treacle (perhaps some cuts were a good idea, after all?). The Largo introduction to the first movement seethed with anguish, until a lovely English horn solo swept us into the fast section, complete with carefully calibrated tidal swells of the entire ensemble. The scherzo was agitated, with a haunted middle section, the sounds of the military band echoed in the trio seeming to come right out of Berlioz.
Anne Midgette, A passionate Royal Concertgebouw with Janine Jansen, violin soloist (Washington Post, February 17)
Tim Smith, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Jansons, Jansen superb in DC visit (Baltimore Sun, February 16)
Alex Baker, Concertgebouw! (Wellsung, February 15)
Allan Kozinn, A Dutch Orchestra Plumbing the Depths (New York Times, February 18)
The next orchestra invited to Washington by WPAS is the San Francisco Symphony, which will appear at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall next month (March 24, 8 pm) in a program of Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Liszt, and Kissine.