Independence Eve Concert
By URY EPPSTEIN
What was different from all the regular programs in the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra’s “Special Festive Independence Eve Concert” was merely a minor commemorative work by a major Jewish composer, Leonard Bernstein - Halil (“Flute”). That’s all. The rest was a standard program, without any new (or old) Israeli work or any outstanding work from the general repertoire. What was so particularly festive about it remained an open question.A flute blower was obviously considered by the JSO as most appropriate in the prevailing spiritual climate. Flutist Noam Buchman, the work’s soloist, offered an extremely sensitive, lyrical rendition of Halil, also impressively dramatic in passages that required it.In Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Hagai Shaham substituted for the advertised Sergey Ostrovsky who was still stuck in a Geneva airport queue for a plane seat. Shaham’s rendition sounded not at all like a last-minute substitute. Quite to the contrary, his performance sounded communicative, as though the work had already been a thoroughly well-rehearsed part of his repertory.Similarly, conductor Yeruham Scharovsky substituted for the stranded Leon Botstein. Inducing him to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 on such short notice, without allowing him to first familiarize himself properly with this tricky work, did not seem quite fair to this justifiably respected conductor. Consequently, inthe slow movement he merely followed the habit of mediocre conductorsof the previous generation by adopting a funeral march tempo instead ofthe prescribed Allegretto. In the last movement, he let the brassoverblare the strings, who in their despair rushed forward with toomany swallowed notes. This, however, did not prevent the indulgentaudience’s applause from its habitual rhythmical clapping, which waswhat lent the festive note to the concert’s finish.
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