An All-Bach program
The Israel Chamber Orchestra
Conductor: Gabor Hollerung
Tel-Aviv Museum of Art
What does it take for an orchestra to specialize in Baroque? Ask almost any relevant ensemble worldwide, and they will tell you the same answer: one, employ period instruments.
And two, adopt a historically-informed practice of performance. These rudiments have largely become the standard for the last 20 years, and have consequently made the listeners expect a crisp, light, sharp sound when Baroque music is concerned.
When it comes to the ICO, however, neither of these essentials apply. Playing regular instruments and employing corresponding technique, the baroque playing of this orchestra may have been relevant in the early Eighties, but today sound totally outdated. Another downside to this concert was the Moran choral ensemble, which despite being young - and seemingly motivated - suffer from acute problems of intonation, balance, and clarity. With several members employing excessive vibrato, they also lack stylistic sensitivity.
Yet, there were three things to enjoy that evening: one, the lovely presentation and cheerful, charismatic leading of Hungarian conductor Gabor Hollerung; two, the beautiful, moving singing of Hungarian Soprano Noemi Kiss; and three, the sensitive playing of oboist Omri Raveh in the G Minor Oboe concerto.