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.
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
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.