Nelsons New Year's Airs Concert

Works by Ziehrer, Josef Strauss, Johann Strauss father, Johann Strauss son, Beethoven ... Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Andris Nelsons. Choreography: José Carlos Martínez. Vienna, 1-I-2020

The guest on this occasion was the Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons (1978), who is currently the owner of the Boston Symphony and the Gewandhaus of Leipzig. We always admire him for his energetic impulse, not incompatible with the occasional refinement and intensity gradation management. The permanent dance on the podium, the exaggerated movements, the gestures, the continuous swing of the body do not seem to confuse the musicians, who keep their attention fixed to a command that does not give stitches without thread and who knows what he wants and how to get it. Undoubtedly, Nelsons has a sometimes overflowing temperament, musical criteria and ease in the stage, on which he moves from one side to the other despite his corpulence and that he is well into meat.

To what extent his baton, varied and suggestive, which usually goes from one hand to another and that is stirred in all planes, giving continuous indications, has managed to develop in this case a coherent speech according to the repertoire placed on the music stand ? The Latvian musician phrased with intention, sometimes far away, in a first approximation, to what the staves seem to ask, even looking for arguable effects because of their abundance. He is a friend of elongations that detract from the naturalness of the expression, although they do not take away cleaning the exhibition. We could verify it on more than one occasion, although it is not possible to deny the artist his good nose for the use of "rubato"; as long as I don't abuse; as he did, for example, just start, in the Overture of Carl Michael Ziehrer "The Wanderers", including, like other pieces of the session, for the first time in these programs and, which in any case sounded superbly in the wicker of the Philharmonic

We liked the slow and cadentious air imposed at the beginning of the waltz "Loving Greetings" by Josef Strauss, which on the television had background images of the city of Salzburg. Well the dissonant chords of the end.

Refined loudness

Also of this Strauss was the next piece, the "Liechtenstein March", where the humorous spirit was kept warm, along with the box. The polka "The festival of flowers" of the great Johann II served to verify to what extent the Philharmonic can take hold without losing its refined sonority. Another composition by the same author, the best known waltz "Where lemon trees bloom," once again showed how the director likes to overreach the "tempo", marking great silences and adopting unexpected slownesses. What did not prevent keep your attention to detail. For a moment the figure of Maazel came to mind, who, perhaps to a greater extent, was concerned with maintaining the square. A sparkling version of the quick polka "Hit and thump" of the other brother, Eduard, closed the first half of the concert.

A bright and marvelous interpretation, in this case touched at all times of the overture "Light Cavalleria" of Suppé, a composer who had not appeared in this act for years, began the second part. We were able to applaud a great clarinet solo and a glorious intervention of the cello in the exhibition of the Hungarian theme. Then the French polka "Cupid" by Josef and the waltz "Hug for millions!" By Johann, we hear Eduard's ceremonial polka mazurka "Ice Flower". After two totally new works, of relative musical value, a «Gavota» by Josef Hellmesberger, with «pizzicati» almost evanescent and, again, admirable performance of the cello, and «The gallop of the postillon» of Hans Christian Lumbye, very light, and in which Nelsons, with good humor, played the cornetín, remembering his good times as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera.

Next, six contradanzas of the twelve that compose the "WoO 14" of Beethoven, the 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 10, touched with the lightness and the danceable sense required. The seventh includes the famous ballet theme "The Creatures of Prometheus" that the composer would use in the "Finale" of the "Heroic Symphony." It was - after a very classic first on the waltz "Hug for millions" - the second appearance of the Vienna Opera Ballet choreographed on this occasion by the Spaniard José Carlos Martínez, former director of the National Dance Company, who created a scene in which a group of 50's American tourists visit the Beethoven house museum in Heiligenstadt. There is a dog and a novel and neat general movement.

In Johann's waltz "Enjoy life" we again see that Nelsons is a friend of slowing down the repetitions of symmetrical phrases, although in the famous polka "Tritsch Tratsch" of the same author imposed an unusual speed. Brilliant and agile responses of the winds. The last piece was the waltz "Dinamos" by Josef, which was served from a meditative beginning. The appearance of the waltz proper was made, after a good "crescendo", with a slight acceleration. First tip: the electrifying polka by Josef «On the fly». And, as a closing, the two known: the waltz «The beautiful Blue Danube», with paused «tempi» and accelerations well studied, and the «Radeztky March» of Johann father in a new orchestration of the Philharmonic itself (of invaluable novelty) .

Altogether a good concert, with some debatable effects, a brilliant performance by Nelsons and a superior performance of the rejuvenated Philharmonic. Very clean and skillful television performance by Michael Beyer and presentation for Spain of the programmer of Radio Classic Martin Llade, agile and loquacious. Beautiful documentary in the intermediate signed by Georg Riha, "Swirls of leaves" of Beethoven, musical evocation of some of the composer's residences: a young woman is collecting sheets with staves of a nonata «Symphony No. 10». It is announced that the year 2021 will be Riccardo Muti the director of the event (his sixth time).


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