Conductor Gustavo Dudamel surprised some audience members right from the start:
In the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert last week he began Samuel
Barber’s Adagio for Strings astonishingly softly, almost inaudibly.
sound then increased gradually, rising to an intense climax, in a performance
reminiscent of the work’s world premiere, conducted by Arturo Toscanini in
Two symphonic poems by Richard Strauss in succession – Don Juan and
Till Eulenspiegel – might seem rather too much of a very good thing. Conducted
by Dudamel, though, they sounded like works by two different composers. The
orchestra itself, usually solid, serious and well-behaved, sounded like a
different orchestra – temperamental, glittering, exuberant, fresh, wide-awake
and impassioned, yet also perfectly disciplined and accurate.
ingenious multicolored instrumentation left no room for complaints of soloist
unemployment. Each instrument was highlighted in its turn with loving care. No
less impressive were the effectively placed rests, held just long enough and
followed by shattering tuttis. Don Juan’s passion and despair, and then Till’s
mischievous, sharp humor were rendered with unmistakable
Emanuele Silvestri, the soloist in Haydn’s Cello Concerto
1, played with an appealingly light, elegant touch, and noble
restraint. A modest primus inter pares, he never let his instrument sing more
audibly than the orchestra. Some more temperament and liveliness might have made
his performance more communicative.