Friday, Nov 22, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 

 

 
 
click to go to advertisers website
 
Pletnev's joyous Russian National Orchestra
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Pletnev's joyous Russian National Orchestra

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

Russian National Orchestra
February 17
Benaroya Hall


I get very excited whenever the Russian National Orchestra comes to town because their performance of Tchaikovsky's 'Pathetique' symphony under Vladimir Jurowski a couple years ago remains the very pinnacle of symphonic experience in my life.

So, what's so special about this orchestra? Certainly not their horn section, which is very good, but not the equal of Seattle's. Certainly not their precision; absolute unity of attack is clearly not the top priority here. American orchestras are generally tops in technical precision, and Seattle is no exception. The Russians aim for something more elusive and musical. Hard to describe, it is a quality of musical expression in which every player seems to be organically unanimous about what it is that they are saying. More than the notes, they express each musical sentence as though it were their own.

The most striking quality this organic unity enables is obvious only to the careful listener, and that is repose. From the opening notes of Tchaikovsky's "Elegy for String Orchestra" (1884), it was apparent we were hearing something we never hear from the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz, namely an utterly relaxed musical condition in which there is nonetheless no loss of focus or concentration. This state of repose is almost a contradiction, for it takes intense concentration to play so softly while still communicating something as elusive as peaceful rest.

Just as music has a dynamic spectrum from very soft to very loud, so too should it have an expressive spectrum from utter repose to ultimate intensity. The difference between these two spectra is subtle and important. The Russians exploit the latter to a degree I have seldom heard before, and that is what makes them so special to me.

Dvorak's "Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104" is such a successful demonstration of how to use the solo cello with orchestra that one wonders that no other composer has achieved its equal, despite worthy attempts by Bloch and a few others. A stunning young cellist, Sergey Antonov, with unbelievably beautiful golden hair, brought complete mastery to the solo part. His gorgeous, rather nasal tone and impassioned attacks made one believe every word. The orchestra is no shrinking violet in this work, and the various sections made their statements with power and lyric sympathy to the soloist.

Conductor and founder Mikhail Pletnev is petite and tidy. His gestures for the most part are restrained and confined to a small space, almost as small as the great Fritz Reiner. Yet his orchestra clearly reads his wishes and produces effects both subtle and grand. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Shostakovich's "Symphony No. 9 in E-flat major, Op. 70." The brilliant orchestration and amazing fertility of the Russian composer gave this orchestra a constant stream of opportunities to shine. The often ironic playfulness of this music could not have been more fun throughout. I ended up feeling that this is the most delightful and accessible of Shostakovich's symphonies after his fifth. I wished they would play it again as an encore!

Instead, they played two selections of such genuinely jazzy delight that one wondered where on earth these pieces had been hiding from the world. Turns out that they were written by the conductor himself, his "Blues" and "Burlesque" from the "Jazz Suite." Clearly, this American idiom held no secrets from either the conductor/composer or the players! The effect was joyous and absolutely irresistible.

Review Rod Parke can be reached at rmp62@columbia.edu.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

RuPaul's Drag Race: Competition claims another drag queen
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Legally Blonde's Michael Rupert on tour at 5th Avenue

------------------------------
All-ages pride pageant raises funds for Lambert House
------------------------------
Fool For Love shows Shepard's dark side
------------------------------
Gay Christian recording artist's tour hits Seattle
------------------------------
Pletnev's joyous Russian National Orchestra
------------------------------
Cappella Romana brings lost music to life
------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Winterblues and The Last Station
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Filmmaker David DeCoteau perfects the Gay thriller
------------------------------
Ghost Writer a fitting final note for Polanski
------------------------------
Cop Out a funny movie with a stupid title
------------------------------
Where It's At: March - Staples, Handler and Mayer on deck for March
------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
Hard Rock Café, Silversun Pickups, Lady Antebellum
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Deep Inside Hollywood - Romeo San Vicente
------------------------------

------------------------------
Book Marks
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2010

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News