Classical Review: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Jerusalem Theater, November 11.

CONDUCTOR KAZUSHI ONO 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of Eisuke Miyoshi)
(photo credit: Courtesy of Eisuke Miyoshi)
The pièce de résistance in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s matinee concert last week was Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1. Although a 20th-century work (1959), it is rather rarely performed, and already sounds almost classic with its clearly chiselled melodic motifs and communicative emotional appeal.
Argentinian soloist Sol Gabetta seems inclined to a meditative, lyric approach that makes her performance appear more mature than her age would suggest. The slow movement and, even more so, the Cadenza, were given a melancholic lament-like character, though the technically demanding passages were rendered with brilliant virtuosity.
The opening and concluding angular, aggressive motifs were treated with a soft-pedalling attitude, refraining from extrovert tempestuous outbursts.
The concerto was sandwiched in between two French impressionist works – somewhat much of a very good thing: Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un Faune (1894) and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe (1911).
Composed long before the World Wars, they can hardly be taken as signs of escapism from the horror of the wars, contrary to what moderator Astrit Baltsan would have her credulous audience believe.
Conducted by Kazushi Ono, the Prelude started with an exquisitely soft flute solo, more so than what one is accustomed to hearing usually.
Ono highlights the works’ abundant delicate instrumental tone colors with loving care. Displaying an authoritative command of the orchestral forces, he led the Ravel Suite to an exciting conclusion.