Mariss Jansons

Lucerne Festival zu Ostern 2013 Sinfoniekonzert 4

Jansons_BR_02* Notes * 
Mariss Jansons and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (pictured left, photograph courtesy of Bayerischer Rundfunk) performed Shostakovich and Beethoven as the closing concert of this year's Lucerne Festival zu Ostern. The orchestra played Shostakovich's Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54 first. The piece is quite odd, having a vernal, yet dark quality to it. The playing all around was splendid. The brass was clean but warm, the woodwinds gleamed, the strings shimmered, and the whole sound came together perfectly.

During intermission, the orchestra was rearranged to have first and second violins on the outside, the violas next to the seconds, and the celli next to the firsts. Before the violas had been downstage, the celli next to them, and the seconds next to the firsts. To end we heard Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. Jansens seems to have immaculate control of the orchestra, and the musicians played evenly, with precision, but much bright richness as well. I was impressed by how good the horn sounded, and how the piccolo, which seemed sinister in the Shostakovich, sounded perfectly bird-like in the Beethoven.

* Tattling * 
There was light whispering and some coughs during the music, but this was only a minor nuisance.

Lucerne Festival zu Ostern 2013 Chorkonzert 4

Mariss-jansons* Notes * 
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and the Tölzer Knabenchor were conducted by Mariss Jansons (pictured left) in Britten's War Requiem op. 66 at Lucerne Festival Saturday evening. The orchestra sounded secure and polished. The brass fanfares in the Dies irae were particularly fine. The chorus was perfectly good. The boys' choir sang from backstage and sounded eerie.

The soloists sang well. Emily Magee's icy soprano was somewhat shrill in the Liber scriptus, but sounded creamier as the piece proceeded. The contrast of her voice with the warmth of the chorus was unnerving. Christian Gerhaher's voice is also pleasantly warm, complimentary to both the soprano and tenor. "Out there, we walked quite friendly up to death" was especially beautiful. Tenor Mark Padmore sounded otherworldly in this, and seemed incorporeal throughout the work, as suits Britten. The Lacrimosa with soprano and chorus interspersed with Padmore's solo "Move him, move him" was sublime.

* Tattling * 
This year's common cold features a terrible cough, and this was on full display at between the six movements of the War Requiem. The audience in the third balcony was quiet during the music, but the man in Row 4 Seat 13 clapped (and screamed) at a painful volume during the final ovation.