The menu of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s matinee concert last week,
conducted by Asher Fisch, consisted of four desserts – from Mozart to Dukas and
There was no satisfying main course.
competent rendition of these pieces it would be unfair to jump to conclusions as
to his capabilities as a conductor of full-fledged symphonic works. In his dual
role of pianist and conductor he displayed sensitive attentiveness to his
partner, Serena Farnocchia, in Mozart’s aria Ch’io mi srodi di te.
singer’s pure, clear soprano had a noticeable tendency toward the
Her voice sounded sharp, however, in the higher register,
without landing there softly and swelling gradually to an impressive
In Mozart’s aria Per questa bella mano, Simon Orfila’s
bass-baritone sounded warm and appealing, but too pale, without the power one is
accustomed to associate with a bass role. His voice blended in harmoniously with
the unfortunately anonymous double-bassist’s solo.
Witzthum refreshingly relegated some of the conventional academic categories,
such as Baroque, Classical and Romantic, to the dustbin of music history. In his
generosity, though, he translated Richard Strauss’ Cavalier of the Rose as
Cavalier of the Roses. In his proverbial modesty, Strauss contented himself with
one single rose only.