Thursday, February 18, 2010

Renewing an old devotion

Heard with EN last night the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, led by a young vivacious conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The strings were especially silky and bright. Jean-Yves Thibaudet played Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major (1859) with great panache, but the work strove too hard for effects and seemed to lack a coherent shape. I did not enjoy much either Richard Strauss's programmatic Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) (1898), though the orchestra played it with gusto, and received calls for an encore after it. Three trumpets left the stage at one point, and played off stage to sound like faraway horns. Neat effect. The piece I liked best of the evening was the program opener, Messiaen's Les offrandes oubliées, méditation symphonique (1930). In contemplating the Cross, the Sin and the Eucharist, it renewed convincingly an old devotion. 

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