BRAHMS WITH THE BERLINER PHILHARMONIC
Berliner Philharmonik conducted by Bernhard Haitink with Radu Lupu as soloist in Brahms
. January 2010 in Berlin.
Obsessed by Beethoven’s spirit and example, it’s well known that Johannes Brahms hesitated years and years before to dare to compose a symphony
. Then, once he won this sort of psychological block in composing, he opened new roads to symphonism itself, that led to the modern time.
In which sense his musical language had evolved? First he indulged less to the sheer beauty of melody, and he stressed on more ‘interlocutory’ musical phrases, what sometimes took the place of the traditional thematic development, or simply was the way the composer intended it.
So, it’s easy to understand why also a popular work such as the Third Symphony needs a skillfull conduction, that’s able to hold its reins, avoiding the danger of discontinuity and the loss of the thread, as it has happened sometimes. A worthful conductor as Bernard Haitink is, for sure he is able to look at the page with coherence and to see it in the whole.
His performance at the head of Berliner Philharmoniker has been more and more convincing
. Haitink is regularly at the head of the legendary ensemble since far 1964, in Karajan’s years, when the collaboration started, so he knows very well what he can obtain from them.
Only at first one could be puzzled by an opening chord that was not as exact as one should expect, and by some excess in trumpets’ sound, that seemed too loud, covering the theme as played by the strings. Here and there one could have whished also some more legato, what could have kept the energy high avoiding some occasional loss of tension.
But these are small things, after all – it has been a first class performance, and how could it have been different with such an orchestra! Berliner are always enthralling and what’s really amazing is how they are able to keep, through the years, that special sound that distinguish them.
In the whole it has been a terse interpretation, which never took advantage of the melodic moments to flatter the audience. This integrity has been specially easy to see in the third movement, the Poco allegretto world-famous for itself. Here the theme has been exposed with sober accuracy, never emphasizing the pathetic side, leaving only room for a soft melancholy when it has been exposed by the clarinet.
The more the execution went on, the more the mutual understanding between conductor and orchestra has grown up, leading to a flawless infectious final movement where all elements were perfectly balanced. And once more the Berliner has showed one of their strongest points in their sound dynamics, always impressive and that enhances the greatness of every page they play as well as the dramatic and musical strength.
With such charge, the orchestra did come back on stage for the second part of this all-Brahms night. Now it was time for the First Piano Concert, featuring as soloist Radu Lupu, who is also an old acquaintance of the Berliner, being guest artist with them since almost forty years.
The Rumanian pianist looks now as an ascetic wise man and quietly he has waited his turn to play, with folded arms during the long introduction that unveils the symphonic inclination of the page. All along the first movement orchestra and soloist have showed sort of a confront and not a real dialogue between themselves. Through the majestic orchestral path, Lupu has gone on his own giving no space to virtuosity but with severe clarity, almost speaking with himself before to enter in the common session.
So, in central Adagio, Haitink has built up sort of a musical hug to hold the soloist, where Lupu could let go himself in his poignant reflections until the end. Almost in direct continuity the last movement got started, and at last the dialogue that had been avoided until then could find its place with precise thematic cross-references until the ending that although in major couldn’t hide a sceptical look on the displayed optimism.
At the end there were thunder of applause from the audience, who always shows how they love ‘their’ orchestra
always or generic viagra prescribed appropriately, has demonstrated broad.
. This enthusiasm wasn’t matched by the protagonists who hurried away from the stage letting understand that there had been no encore. Those who still had a hope could realize that there were none when Lupu came back on stage only once after a long series of calls, and greeting the crowd meaning that the evening was over.