Classical Review: Desserts only

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s matinee concert consisted of four desserts; There was no satisfying main course.

July 1, 2012 00:52
1 minute read.
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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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 Richard Strauss.

There was no satisfying main course.

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From Fisch’s 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.

The singer’s pure, clear soprano had a noticeable tendency toward the dramatic.

Her voice sounded sharp, however, in the higher register, without landing there softly and swelling gradually to an impressive forte.

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.

Moderator David 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.

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