Mozart and Beethoven were teamed together for a conventional classic program in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's matinee concert last week.
In his own time, of course, Beethoven was considered anything but conventional. On the contrary, he was a veritable enfant terrible. Never content with melody and harmony alone, he placed strong emphasis on rhythm, injecting vigorous energies into his works.
It was in this spirit that conductor George Pehlivanian performed Symphony Nr. 7. There was nothing conventional about his rendition, yet there were also no deliberate attempts at artificial innovation. The slow opening was unmistakably slow, indeed, not easygoing as is common with many run-of-the-mill conductors. Thus the required dramatic contrast with the immediately following fast first movement was achieved. Likewise, the second movement proceeded in a brisk tempo, not the customary funeral-march-like conservative slow speed of the would-be Romantic tradition.
The Presto was stripped of its conventional scherzo-like jocularity and instead, was delivered refreshingly with significantly placed powerful accents. The final movement was rendered with breathtaking, relentless force and incessantly increasing tension. In this performance of the often-heard work there was never a dull moment and no feeling of deja vu or deja entendu. As a curtain raiser, violinist David Garrett presented a repeat performance of Mozart's Violin Concerto Nr. 5.