helene grimaud 88 224.
(photo credit: )
Mann Auditorium's 50th Anniversary Concert
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Soloists
Conductor: Zubin Mehta
It was somewhat ironic for the Israel Philharmonic to celebrate the anniversary of a hall it can no longer stand. The orchestra had been trying to have the crumbling hall renovated for years, but due to conservation issues all plans have been stopped and currently no progress has been made on the matter.
This turn of events may not be the perfect setup for an anniversary party, but the IPO did produce a touching musical marathon in honor of the hall and its history. Reenacting the auditorium's opening night 50 years ago, the concert featured the exact same program with three top-notch soloists. The orchestral pieces were of lesser significance, making the soloists the evening's most interesting feature. Leonidas Kavakos (violin) played Mendelssohn's violin concerto with a clear, dry interpretation, which was effective, especially in the end of the second movement. Cellist Steven Isserlis was unlucky enough to have received Bloch's tedious "Shlomo" suite as his share, and even his wonderful musicianship didn't suffice to make this piece more than it has to offer.
Concluding the three-hour marathon was the gorgeous French pianist Helene Grimaud, who wonderfully played Beethoven's "Emperor Concerto". Although not flawless, Grimaud had some stunning moments and presented a coherent, enjoyable reading. It is sad to note, however, that what the Mann auditorium really needs is not a spiffy birthday but an immediate, comprehensive renovation.