Violin, David Garrett
Conductor, George Pehlivanian
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's tribute to Israeli music in its subscription concert Nr. 6 was dutifully paid in a first IPO Performance of "Steps in Wonderland" by Ron Yedidya (b. 1960). The program notes introduce Yedidya as a former child prodigy pianist who eventually switched over to composing for unspecified reasons at the ripe old age of 15.
Recognizable in this piece was a considerable talent for colourful orchestration. Obstinate repetition of a melodic theme on the basis of an equally repetitive percussion pattern provided the listener with a mildly amusing local variant of "Bolero."
The soloist in Mozart's Violin Concerto Nr. 5 was German-born David Garrett, 23, a student of Itzhak Perlman, substituting for the suddenly indisposed Julian Rachlin. He displayed a pure, appealing, clear sound and well-polished technique. However, his playing was nonchalant and indifferent, not doing justice to the emotional profundity of Mozart's work, especially the Rondo's sombre chromaticism.
The concert's highlight was conductor George Pehlivanian's masterful rendition of Shostakovich's Symphony Nr. 8. A gradual building of almost unbearable tension led to a shattering climax, followed finally by a breathtaking and despairing calm. Superb shaping of phrases, impressive contrasts of powerful brass and delicate woodwinds made this performance a rare musical experience.