Concert Review

"Contemporary though listener-friendly, the work turns its back on the commonly optimistic musical depiction of Israel and the Middle East."

December 24, 2013 21:56
1 minute read.
London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Philharmonic Orchestra 311 (R). (photo credit: Arko Datta/Reuters)

Mendi Rodan Orchestra
Avni World Premiere
YMCA, December 10

The world premiere of The New Middle East by Israel composer Tsvi Avni, who recently has been granted honorary citizenship of his birth-town of Saarbruecken, Germany, was performed in the season opening concert of the Mendi Rodan Orchestra, conducted by Eitan Globerson.

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Contemporary though listener- friendly, the work turns its back on the commonly optimistic musical depiction of Israel and the Middle East. It conveys the depressive mood of the Dead Sea landscape. The second movement’s march rhythm, rather than radiating conventional positive energy, makes use of dissonances in order to suggest a mildly ironic view of what nowadays is “new” in this region of the world. This musical irony is a novelty in Israel music – a highly personal and attractive feature.

The soloists of Brahms’ Double Concerto, violinist Roi Shiloah and cellist Tsvi Plesser, displayed appealing mutual attentiveness, and produced a songful sound on their instruments. Expression-wise, however, it was a somewhat pale and mechanical rendition.

Brahms’ Second Symphony is a quite ambitious undertaking for a student orchestra. Reasonably well-rehearsed, with almost all notes in place, except for swallowed intermediate ones, the articulation of phrases was tentative.

Instrumental soli were finely polished. Accuracy was indeed mostly achieved, but at the expense of tension and emotional expression. Less demanding works are recommendable for this orchestra’s future concerts.

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