Concert Reviews

Rarely performed works were rescued from oblivion in conductor Leon Botstein's "Discoveries" series of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra - Miaskovsky's Silentium, Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and Liszt's Dante Symphony.

July 3, 2006 10:01
2 minute read.
Concert Reviews

concerto koln 88.298. (photo credit: )


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JSO Off-the-Beaten-Track Jerusalem Theater June 22 Rarely performed works were rescued from oblivion in conductor Leon Botstein's "Discoveries" series of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra - Miaskovsky's Silentium, Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and Liszt's Dante Symphony. One owes gratitude for the revival of Strauss's long neglected Don Quixote. It is a veritable masterpiece of colorful orchestration. The partly wistful, partly pathetic, partly tragi-comic hero is portrayed by witty, humorous, occasionally emphatic and always dramatic musical ideas, until finally even Strauss's irony succumbs to a tragic-sounding ending. Violist Richard Assayas and cellist Irit Assayas contributed plasticity to the hero's musical figure. Liszt's Dante Symphony starts off with convincingly infernal bass, including an appropriately menacing tuba, and percussion. - Ury Eppstein Israel Opera Handel: 'Julius Caesar' Tel Aviv Opera House June 25 The Israeli Opera deserves praise for presenting Handel's Giulio Cesare - unjustifiably neglected, despite being among the most dramatic and impressive works of the repertoire. The performance was a pure pleasure. Jakob Peters-Messer and Christoph Wagenknecht's direction and sets were agreeably minimalist and neutral. The casting of as many as four mezzo-sopranos was problematic. The mixing of genders still increased the confusion. Hadar Halevi's appealing vocal timbre and charm are naturally too much of the feminine kind to represent a credible masculine hero such as Julius Caesar. Particularly captivating was Corinna Mologni. Her bright, radiant soprano, seductiveness, suggestive acting and looks represented an irresistible Cleopatra, making one well understand Caesar's falling in love with her. Outstanding was Yaniv d'Or, as Tolomeo. His enchanting, clear countertenor and expressive acting were a masterpiece of well-stylized tyrannicalness. Mezzo-soprano Edna Prochnik succeeded admirably in creating a profoundly tragic, moving Cornelia. The Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion, with a continuo group of period instruments conducted by David Stern, perfectly created the opera's Baroque atmosphere. - Ury Eppstein Berry Sakharof and Rea Mochiach 11a HaMa'abada Jerusalem June 29 Turkish-Israeli alternative artist Berry Sakharof spent most of the '80s playing new wave-influenced guitar rock in Europe with Rami Fortis. Sakharof's solo debut, 1991's All or Nothing, was stylistically an extension of this work. It wasn't until he teamed up with percussionist and electronic tweakmaster Rea Mochiach for 1993's Signs of Weakness that Sakharof found his own sound as a solo artist. Sakharof reunited with Mochiach for 2005's 11a, a sort of sequel to Signs of Weakness. And now, Mochiach and Sakharof - together with an extremely tight rock band, a video projection system and stacks of sequencers and triggers - have brought their 11a show back to the Ma'abada. Sakharof's guitar and vocals were characteristically inspired and Mochiach's ferocious drumming somehow simultaneously precise and chaotic. The set consisted of almost the entire 11a album, interrupted by some favorites from Signs that Sakharof rarely played live in the years he toured without Mochiach. "Tni Li Makom" was jammed out with particular zeal - an extended freeform rhythm-flux sequence having been added to the end - while the encore set's "Come Together" Beatles cover and "Kama Yossi" made the youth go wild. - Ben Jacobson

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