Classical review

IPO season opening Jerusalem ICC October 6.

Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (photo credit: Sasson Tiram)
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
(photo credit: Sasson Tiram)
Except for conductor Kurt Masur’s absence due to illness (Lahav Shani stood in for him), there was no reason to be disappointed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s season opening.
Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes (1919) was the IPO’s nineminute tribute to modern music in this program. Soloist Rudolf Buchbinder presented a classic performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto. A notable personal touch was an attractive feature of the slow movement. Its rendition savored every note and caressed every phrase with loving care and sensitivity to the movement’s lyricism.
Although its transition to the final movement was somewhat rushed, at the expense of its explosive impact, the following Rondo was rendered with all the energy and sprightliness it deserves.
The concert’s crowning glory was Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, conducted by Shani. This work is a formidable challenge for a 24-year old IPO debutante conductor. Shani demonstrated an astonishing combination of youthful freshness and an amazingly mature approach to this demanding work.
There was drive and continuous tension, with never a dull moment, making the audience oblivious to the work’s hour-long duration.
Tempi were vibrantly flexible and subtle nuances of dynamics abundant.
The many instrumental soli were highlighted poignantly and the intricate orchestration’s transparency perfect. The performance did no injustice to Mahler’s work.