Friday 24 August 2007

Mariss Jansons with Beethoven 9 in Salzburg

Competing for attention last Friday night with both Claus Guth´s Nozze di Figaro next door and Mozarts C-minor mass, the guest performance of Symphonieorchester des Bayerische Rundfunk conducted by Mariss Janssons nevertheless completely sold out the Salzburg Festival Hall.

The concert started with Honeggers 3rd symphony, a work I was not familiar with by a composer that I am not extensively familiar with either – a tonal piece with floating harmonies. According to seasoned concert-goers, the coupling of the Beethoven 9th with a “modern” piece is now common practice. The Beethoven, of course, was the main thing. And the performance was greeted ecstatically by immediate standing ovations by the entire audience, which I was a bit curious about. I mean – the performance was good – but I missed some structure and dynamic particularly in the first and third movement.
Four stellar soloists were hired for the occasion: Krassimira Stoyanova, Lioba Braun, Johan Botha and Thomas Quasthoff – although the female parts are so small that I wouldn´t think it worth the effort to hire stellar female singers, since you hardly hear them sing and I guess just about any soprano and alto would do justice to the very small parts. Furthermore, Thomas Quasthoff´s lyrical bass-bariton does not seem ideal for the bass part (the largest solo part).

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