Dudamel and Berliner Philharmoniker in Florenz
Gustavo Dudamelm, Conductor, with Berliner Philharmoniker
at Opera di Firenze, Italy
2014 June 24th
Piotr Ilich Chaikovsky; The Tempest, fantasia sinfonica op. 18
Piotr Ilich Chaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet, ouverture fantasia
Johannes Brahms: Symphony nr 1 op. 68
FIRENZE/ITALY: Berliner Philarmoniker come back in Florence in this 77th edition of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, on the program music by Chaikovsky and Brahms. Also this concert, as all the others in this season, took place in the very new Florence Opera House, which has an excellent acustic, so that the audience who filled the house could enjoy Berliners in the best way.
Chaikovsky‘s pages were not among his most famous: both were inspired by Shakespeare, a writer that the composer admired very much. Under Dudamel’s conducting everything seemed shining and winning, the first parts of the orchestra had the right relief, as well as the unity of the ensemble, that is already a typical characteristic of Berliner Philharmoniker. What was missing, unfortunately, was a sort of autentically “Russian spirit“, the colour of the sound, a sort of ”roughmess” that sometimes Chaikovsky needs, even in works that are not among the most intense like these ones. It was anyhow a splendid performance, in my opinion better than the following Brahms’ Symphony nr 1.
I think that it’s difficult to find a coherent interpretative line in Dudamel performing of Brahms’ Symphony. Everything seems nice, bright, polite, refined and iridescent, but lacking in its soul. Chaikovsky, specially in compositions like the ones of this concert, can tolerate a lush and rather exterior rendition, more careful to the instrumental side than to the depth, but in Brahms we could find any fundamental idea, and the performance was almost on the level of a high class routine.
Gustavo Dudamel, whose activity was for several years in Abbado‘s shadow, has to fly now with his own wings, as difficult as it may be. Of course the collaboration with such an Orchestra that seems to go by itself helps him: the sound is wonderful, strings are of the highest level, first parts are simply wonderful, there are real wonders to hear and ponder over. It’s like the conductor had a Ferrari at his disposal, a car that would have gone fast even with just a small input from the driver.
The success was triumphant, Dudamel and the orchestra played two encores, an excerpt of Rossini’s William Tell Symphony (a very questionable choice, to cut a symphony in small parts…) and an evocative Waltz by Bernstein.
translation from italian Bruno Tredicine