Classical Review: IPO No Mere Substitute

Jerusalem ICC, February 7.

Orchestra (photo credit: Wikicommons)
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
Except for regretting Kurt Masur’s unfortunate accident that prevented him from conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert last week, there was no reason for disappointment with Doron Salomon as substitute.
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s performance of Brahns’ Piano Concerto No.
1 was electrifying. He is a veritable bombshell of temperament, radiating passion, intensity of expression, and excitement. Powerfully convincing though his outbursts are, there is nothing exaggerated or showy about them. Not even the slightest fleeting detail is neglected, tempi are subtly flexible with no trace of rigidity, climactic highlights are significantly accentuated, nuances of dynamics are abundant, and technically demanding runs are meticulously polished.
In contrast with the tempestuous, forcefully decisive touch in the fast movements, his delicate softness in the slow one came as a surprise. There he extracted the last drop of lyricism from the meditative passages. This was quite an unorthodox rendition of the work, but unostentatiously so.
Salomon displayed authoritative command of the orchestra that sounded extremely well consolidated under his direction. In the Concerto, his careful attentiveness to the soloist resulted in perfect collaboration.
Even the tricky fugal episode in the third movement was uncommonly transparent.
Cesar Franck’s Symphony sounded intensely impressive, yet strictly controlled.
This conductor certainly deserves to be invited more frequently by the IPO on his own merit, not merely as a substitute.