|Maestro Michael Sanderling (snipview.com)|
Following words of welcome from Israeli President Mr. Reuven Rivlin, the program opened with the Israeli premiere of LINKS.METAMORPHOSES by composer, conductor, arranger and pianist Ziv Cojocaru. Born in Beer-Sheba in 1977, Cojocaru is a cross-over musician, spanning the fields of classical-, contemporary- and popular music. A work endeavoring to portray human connections and relationships, LINKS.METAMORPHOSES is dedicated to the ideals of learning, aesthetics, expression and humanism, as demonstrated in the joint Weimar-Jerusalem project. Fine fare for a large orchestra, the work bristles with active washes of sound, fine homophonic tutti and interesting and evocative timbres, enchanting moments, excitement and drama. This was followed by Kurt Weill’s Symphony No.2, a work completed in Paris 1933-1934, where the composer sought asylum after he was forced to emigrate from Germany when the National Socialists took over and before he finally settled in the USA. A fine work, neglected in today’s concert repertoire, there has been much discussion as to how programmatic Weill’s Symphony No.2 is, despite the fact that it has no explicit program. Sanderling and the orchestra nevertheless recreated the melancholic climate and dark clouds of impending doom hanging over Europe in the 1930s and of Weill’s cabaret style in particular, from the first sultry trumpet solo (and plenty more fine solo passagework) bitter-sweet melodies and the composer’s typical appealingly sentimental musical language with its underlying tragedy. Watching the young players’ expressions, it was clear that this music is so enjoyable to perform, with its bold approach, melodiousness, wit and accessibility.
Alexey Stadler, today a student at the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar, was the soloist in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra No.1 in E-flat major opus 107. At 24, the Russian ‘cellist is already a seasoned performer and has won numerous prizes. Stadler’s performance of the concerto was serious, single-minded and intense, setting the scene in the first movement with feisty vitality and addressing the second movement with exquisite delicacy and expressiveness, its bare, disturbing conclusion speaking of Shostakovich’s personal pessimism. After careful pacing of the third movement – Cadenza – with its gloomy musings on the second movement, the Allegro con moto was played with intelligence, precision and virtuosity. The prominent horn role, woven throughout the concerto, was tackled courageously by one of the German students, no easy task for young horn players.
Concluding the program, Michael Sanderling and the orchestra performed Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture “Romeo and Juliet”, in which Shakespeare’s tragedy and the composer’s tortured personal life merge to produce a masterpiece that alternates between oppressively dramatic moments and those describing the rapturous love of the young couple. Opening with the delightful gentle clarinet and bassoon chorale, conductor and orchestra presented the descriptive, richly timbred work, its beauty and emotion, in polished and well-coordinated playing, bringing to an end a concert of high-level, dedicated and finely crafted playing.