Concert Review: All-French Program

In an all-French program of the Israel Festival, modern music was sadly absent - unless one counts Ravel as such.

Music good 88 (photo credit:)
Music good 88
(photo credit: )
Israel Festival All-French Program Jerusalem Theater June 19 In an all-French program of the Israel Festival, modern music was sadly absent - unless one counts Ravel as such, simply because his Piano Concerto in G major, though not modern in style, was composed in the 20th century. Violinist David Grimal stole the show as soloist in Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole. Such a well-known and frequently performed work passes the patience test only if its performance is outstanding. Grimal's rendition indeed was so - gripping by virtue of its infectious temperamental outbursts, captivating flexibility of tempi, rich sonorous sound and dazzling virtuosity. He also injected the right dosage of sentimentality, though he stopped short of gliding into saccharine kitsch. In Ravel's Piano Concerto, David Fray presented an impressive, intense performance. He placed justifiable emphasis on the work's jazzy elements, shaping jumpy rhythms and accents. He also displayed a formidable technical command of the demanding work. In Emmanuelle Bertrand's rendition of Saint Saens's Cello Concerto No. 1, temperament and emotional involvement were missing, as well as sound that might have been able to fill the not-too-large Henry Crown Hall. It sounded like a somewhat-tired Saint Saens. Conductor Gisele Ben-Dor held the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra firmly in her grip and instilled some refreshing Uruguayan vivacity into its players.