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Iván Fischer and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s: Weiner, Schumann, Bartók, Mozart

23 November 2013

It would be easy to harp on about the period instrument movement’s effects on Mozart – often that would be justified –but Fischer’s treatment of the composer’s last and greatest symphony was so inventive, stepping so far beyond any kind of performing tradition, however pernicious, that there would be little point. It started as if grandly announcing an evening at the opera, music and audience uniting in chatty phrasing. The first movement never settled down, although that insatiable animation brought the fugal development to life. Insistent inner parts corkscrewed like Mannheim rockets careening into the sky. The glorious slow movement was a bit fidgety, but retained a darkness uncommonly found in Mozart’s music, a product no doubt of arranging the double basses (only four) across the rear of the hall, and allowing them, like Furtwängler-lite, to anticipate the beat. Chiaroscuro continued to focus on shadow even in the menuet, which was taken with an ominous weight. Finally, a festive conclusion was delivered with a spectacular vim, sounding as radical as Beethoven in the way it found unity from diversity.

An uneven concert from the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Iván Fischer culminated in a spirited ‘Jupiter’ symphony. Read the rest of my review at Seen & Heard here.

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