Sat. Feb 29th, 2020

Jakub Hrůša, Central European musical melting pot | Culture


BAMBERGER SYMPHONIKER. Works by Beethoven, Saint-Saëns and Brahms. Sol Gabetta, cello. Jakub Hrůša, address. Season of Great Concerts of the Auditorium. Zaragoza Auditorium, February 10.

Music transcends creeds, languages, mentalities and nations. What the Czech conductor thinks Jakub Hrůša (Brno, 38 years old). And especially since 2016, when he started working as the music manager of the Bamberg Symphony, a formation created in 1946 with the members of the German Philharmonic Orchestra of Prague expelled from the former Czechoslovakia. “My stay in this Bavarian city is attenuating my own nationality,” assured in Bachtrack. “Now I feel the unity that Central European culture had in the 19th century.” And he gave an example: “If you go from Brno, the Moravian city where I was born, to Vienna, you hardly perceive differences in the landscape, apart from mentalities. You feel rather a difference in language. I miss a closer relationship between German and Czech-speaking communities, ”he says. That is why he has undertaken a phonographic project with the Bamberg Orchestra on the Tudor seal: twinning the symphonies of Brahms and Dvořák. Two composers who shared ideas, friendship and influences, but that are usually located with different labels in the history books. After two pitches that have matched Brahms 4 with Dvořak 9, and Brahms 3 with Dvořák 8, Hrůša has chosen two programs that approach the Spanish tour with Ibermúsica First from German to Seventh from the czech Two symphonies that will center each other concerts next Wednesday and Thursday, February 12 and 13, at the National Auditorium.

The Spanish tour of the Bamberg Symphony with Hrůša began on Monday 10 at the Zaragoza Auditorium. And with a program focused on First of Brahms that is repeated this Tuesday at the Palau de Valencia. However, the Czech director wanted to button him with two magnificent tips of Dvořák: the two final movements of the Czech suite op. 39. A Romance where he showed, regardless of the baton, how the sound of an orchestra is kneaded; that fusion of warm colors and exquisite phrasing. And continued, in the finale, with a master lesson in the art of articulating and even breathing this music.

It was an exceptional culmination, after a brilliant First from Brahms, which began little flexible and too inhibited. The Czech director fluently resolved, in the first movement, that kind of coup de théâtre which is the repetition of the exhibition, but it became entangled in the thickets of development. And he found no support in the metal to insufflate the necessary dose of tension decanted by the recapitulation. Everything improved in the Andante Sosuto, with that freshness that brings the string with the wood, two admirable sections in this German orchestra. And it was overcome, even more, in the scherzo, where Hrůša found the necessary elasticity.

But the best of the symphony came in the finale, that Beethovenian step from C minor to C major with an elaboration of the famous theme of his Ninth almost like a stone guest. Precisely, the Czech director found here the poise and intensity to tell the story that Brahms hides behind the notes. I refer to his release of the ghost of Beethoven who had postponed the completion of this symphony more than twenty years (until 1876). It is evidenced by the omission of the aforementioned Beethovenian theme in the recapitulation that leads to the final exultant of the symphony. Hrůša knew how to underline the key to the story: the repetition of the triumphant touch of the first trunk of the introduction just at the end of development. Interestingly, Brahms had given Clara Schumann that same melody on his 1868 birthday greeting. He gave the indication: “This is how the Alpine horn sounded today,” although he did not know that with it he would drive away his ghosts. It should not be forgotten that if Brahms took 24 years to compose this First symphony, for the other three he only needed seven more years.

Cellist Sol Gabetta during her performance of the ‘Concert No. 1’, by Saint-Saëns, on Monday in Zaragoza.


Cellist Sol Gabetta during her performance of the ‘Concert No. 1’, by Saint-Saëns, on Monday in Zaragoza.

The Czech director took this detail into account in the preparation of the concert program. It ended with the overcoming of the ghost of Beethovenbut opened it with its manifestation in the Egmont’s Overture. It was the first of the incidental music numbers for a production of Goethe’s historical drama at the Burgtheater in Vienna, in 1810. The interpretation showed, at first, the poise of the excellent Bamberg string and the quality of its woods in those reasons that portray the Spanish oppression of the count of Egmont and his desire for freedom. The work walked compass, although it did not rise at any time. It was noticed, for example, in the passage to the bright Symphony of Victory final; that terrifying general silence with calderón that represents the decapitation of the Flemish count and that went completely unnoticed.

The first part ended with the most rounded interpretation of the evening: the Concerto for Cello No. 1, from Saint-Saëns, with Gabetta sun (Villa María, 38 years old) as a soloist. The Argentine cellist has returned to frequent this work in recent years, which she recorded three years ago for RCA. And that rethinking was already noticed in its first entry, after the initial chord of the tutti, with that fluid and elastic way of enunciating each sentence. Hrůša found, for his part, the necessary flexibility and breathed with the cellist.

Argentina, which prioritizes musicality over volume, was not afraid to squeeze the dynamic ends of the work. It was heard, in the end, when he ideally opposed lightness and expressiveness. But the best moment of his performance came in the transition to allegretto with motorcycle central, that kind of recreation of a French baroque minuet. Gabetta knew how to stop time and put the Bavarian orchestra in a tray, the utmost statement of the dance. And Hrůša took the glove to raise that moment of ars gallica composed, in 1872, to recover French morals after the failure in the Franco-Prussian War. An ideal reconciliation. And one more recreation of that delicious musical melting pot that is old Europe. Finally, Gabetta chose to pay homage to Pau Casals and played, with admirable musicality, an arrangement of the Catalan folk song The cant dels ocells accompanied by six violoncelles of the orchestra.

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