Paternostro conducts the Israel Chamber Orchestra.
(photo credit: Michael Dalder / Reuters)
The Israel Sinfonietta joined forces with the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra for a
gala finale to its 39th Season at the Beersheba Arts Complex.
with a programmatic tone poem, “Contemplation” by Israeli composer Michael Wolpe
– his vision is a quest for identity in Eretz Yisrael today as dream or reality,
hope or despair. Its three moods alternate: longing and nostalgia fluctuate and
interact with optimistic darbukadebka rhythms and stormy, clustered
Framed by a lyric, offstage trumpet solo, its melody opens on a
hopeful sigh and closes on a mourning sob. In between, the three moods
interweave, as the work builds to a searing climax in a series of lyric
developments, before receding.
The style follows in the footsteps of
Israel’s pioneering Mediterranean composers but with Wolpe’s own harmonic and
melodic touch and awareness of contemporary techniques and
Three well-known Schubert songs: Du Bist die Ruh (Ruckert),
An die Musik (von Schober), and Grechen am Spinnrade (Goethe), orchestrated by
Max Reger (1873-1916) followed.
They featured graceful young Israel
soprano Daniella Lugassy. Her stylish interpretations, crystalline cantilena,
and lovely stage appearance made an impression.
Lugassy appeared as
soloist in the last movement of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, whose icy images of
sleigh bells and snow take place in heaven, where “Saint Peter oversees angels
baking bread... and Saint Ursula shakes with laughter,” and so forth.
centerpiece of the evening, it was the first time this complicated Mahlerian
work has ever been played in Beersheba. Conductor Doron Solomon flowed with its
shifting tempi and intricately interweaving textures and dynamic and managed to
draw a sheen from his newly combined forces and a standing ovation from the
The other movements of the symphony, elaborations on the
closing song, take place on earth. Its Viennese core is sehr gemachtlich (very
comfortable) and filled with puns, jokes, fairytale atmospheres, hymns and
wonderful violin solos by concertmaster Yaron Prensky.