Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
Pintscher: towards Osiris
Mozart: Violin Concerto No 5 in A Major, K. 219, "Turkish" – Janine Jansen
Brahms: Symphony No 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
Now that the trip to France is a lovely but far off memory and that I am fully back in real life, it is time to resume my unofficial residency at Carnegie Hall with a traditional concert that included a violin concerto, which could only be a thoroughly enjoyable one since it was Mozart’s Turkish performed by Janice Jansen, and a timeless symphony, which in this case was Brahms’ last and sumptuous masterpiece. Since one has to leave room for the young, or at least the contemporary, German composer Matthias Pintscher was also appearing on the program with the Carnegie Hall première of its 2005 toward Osiris. All this would happen courtesy of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the world’s most highly regarded musical ensembles, as famous for its many riveting performances as for its numerous outreach programs all over England.
The unknown toward Osiris, taking its inspiration from the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris and Isis, sounded appropriately fragmented and ethereal, a six-minute festival of eclectic sonorities delicately hovering in the air from the orchestra operating in full force.
After this strange beast, we went back on über-familiar territory with a much reduced orchestra for Mozart’s popular Turkish violin concerto, to which a diaphanous-looking Janine Jansen did full justice. Always the ultimate piano man, Mozart nevertheless knew a thing or two about the violin, as his five concertos for the instrument can attest. For the Turkish, he had the violin make an unusually subdued, poetic entrance before going all out in a dazzling show of exuberance. Janine Jansen, a naturally graceful and sensitive musician, let her elegant tone take flight and brilliantly expand, before moving into an angelic Adagio. The finale was a bouquet of exotic flavors that happily exploded, but never lost their refined taste. Mozart would have been pleased.
One of my hands-down favorite musical journeys, Brahms’ Symphony No 4 is an intense, somber and deeply moving work, which opens with some of the most hypnotic waves in the entire classical music répertoire. From then on, the seriously magnificent score just keeps unrolling as if nothing could stop the outpouring of romantic longings, regrets and resolve. Young but nevertheless definitely in charge maestro Vladimir Jurowski, who had proven quietly efficient until then, was finally able to lead his musicians into a tight and passionate performance of Brahms’ supreme achievement, crowning the evening with a truly beautiful tour de force. There was regretfully no encore, but then again, what can you play after Brahms' Fourth?