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Who for Whom?

David Robertson stepped in for the indisposed James Levine last Saturday. It was but one of the replacements that haunt this month: WPAS and the Baltimore Symphony have a few more to offer: sadly, Murray Perahia will not be able to play his recital at Strathmore on March 29th. He is being replaced by Peter Serkin – a player who has a certain following in the area, but there is no point in pretending not to be disappointed. The only replacement of similar stature in name and style might have been Daniel Barenboim… alas, we’ve enjoyed Peter Serkin in the past (when he replaced Radu Lupu) and will likely again. (Although if he continues to substitute for pianists I really want to hear, I'll associate disappointment with him, no matter how well he plays.)

Ludovic MorlotAlthough not confirmed yet, it looks like Kurt Masur will not recover in time to lead the London Philharmonic in their concert at the Kennedy Center (with Sergey Khachatryan). He would be replaced by Osmo Vänskä. If so, I’ll regret not yet having seen Kurt Masur live but look forward to Vänskä, whose inclusion makes the program only more exciting. It should not hurt ticket sales, either – last time Vänskä was in town, he seems to have completely dazzled the audience with out-of-this-world Sibelius; I still hear raves every time the name comes up.

Not to be outdone, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra offers cancellations of their own. Yuri Temirkanov cancelled all concerts this month. It brings his physical position into balance with his spiritual absence from Baltimore – but whereas I quipped last week that we won’t need him until Mahler 2nd in June, I am now worried that he might not even make it then. Stepping in for him this Thursday (in a concert with Emanuel Ax at Meyerhoff) will be the 32-year-old Ludovic Morlot, BSO assistant to James Levine. (It all comes together!) He has recently replaced Christoph von Dohnanyi with the New York Philharmonic, eliciting high praise from the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini (also a review The Classical Source.) Something to look forward to, apparently.

The BSO’s all-Mozart concert the following week (March 23rd to 26th) will be led by concertmaster Jonathan Carney.


Anonymous said...

Serkin was playing with the Orion String Quartet at the Terrace Theater in October(Lieberson's piano quintet). I wasn't impressed. It was just OK performance (by both the pianist and the quartet). As for the Perahia's replacement, I would prefer listening to a great pianist (who also conducts) rather than to a conductor (who was also a great pianist). I think at the piano the stature in name plays a little role.

p.s. So who is replacing Pollini in May? (just kidding)

jfl said...

Margarita, your point about Serkin is well taken... but I disagree about the Barenboim criticism. I didn't pick him because he is a big name (although he is) , I picked him because he strikes me as one of the few famous pianists that are big, unapologetically romantic and not afraid of a lush note, here and there. In that, he strikes me closer to Perahia (only further down that road) than most other pianists.

Barenboim may be more famous as a conductor now, but he'd probably see himself as a pianists with a successful coducting career, not the other way around.