Review of now quite well known Venezuelan conductor

From the Guardian's excellent online BBC Proms review resource:

"There were times when one wondered whether this year's Gothenburg Symphony Prom was jinxed. The concert had already hit the headlines some days beforehand, with the announcement that indisposed conductor Neeme Jarvi would be replaced at short notice by the much-hyped Venezuelan wunderkind Gustavo Dudamel. On the night, however, there were further problems.
Dudamel and the orchestra had only just taken their places, when the air was rent by a high-pitched squealing noise - a fault, no doubt, with either the Albert Hall's PA system or the BBC's recording equipment, though no one seemed able or willing to identify its source. It was over an hour before the offending noise was silenced.

When it finally got going, the concert was less than amazing, though whether its inequalities were due to rattled nerves on the part of Dudamel or the orchestra was hard to say. Dudamel has been compared to Daniel Harding and the young Simon Rattle - comparisons not quite justified on this showing.

The opening work, Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, though frenzied, was short on passion and terror, while the orchestral ensemble was occasionally ragged. Mahler's Rückert Lieder fared better - an austere, reflective performance, beautifully shaped and sculpted. Anne Sofie von Otter was the mezzo soloist. Her voice is fraying a bit, though her communicative powers remain untarnished.

Sibelius's Fifth Symphony came after the interval. Much has been made of Dudamel learning the work at five days' notice: inevitably he hasn't quite got the measure of it, and a sense of caution led to moments of stateliness. Whether Dudamel is everything he is cracked up to be remains to be seen: we need to hear him under more favourable circumstances.
Review by Tim Ashley

If you enjoyed this post take an overgrown path to There is no such thing as an unknown Venezuelan conductor and read the comments in particular.
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Pliable said…
Aminovice, who is one of Dudamel’s many fans, has written asking why I haven’t featured other reviews of his Prom to give a balanced view.

The problem is, as far as I can ascertain after investing some time googling, neither the Telegraph
nor Times reviews of Dudamel’s concert are available online. If anyone else can locate them, or other reviews, please post the links.

So no hidden agendas. Music blogging is the art of the possible. The Guardian are the most web-friendly newspaper, and that is why their reviews are linked in all my posts
Pliable said…
Many thanks for all these very valuable posts which have helped paint what is a very complex picture. This story is not only about Gustavo Dudamel. It is also about the importance of music education, a subject evangelised by our own Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (I urge you to read my archived post A musician with teeth and the his speech which is linked to it). It is also about the commercial forces in classical music, which like an iceberg are 90% invisible. I have tried to make those forces more visible with posts such as Music-like-water.

I thought long and hard about the recent comment which said I was not presenting a balanced view of this story. To a certain extent that is a fair comment. This is a blog. One definition of a blog is as follows Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site.

On an overgrown path represents my personality. And as my wife will testify that is certainly not balanced. You will not find mentions on this blog of composers ranging from Varese to Gilbert and Sullivan. That is not because they are insignificant composers, but personally they mean little to me.

The checks and balances can be added by you the readers via the comments and email facilities. This is not hopeless idealism on my part. The reader input on the Dudamel story has been overwhelming. I know some of you have put a lot of effort into transcribing reviews. That is much appreciated. Thanks, it has worked.

So please keep the comments pouring in to this unbalanced, but well read, blog.

P.S. It is an irony of blogging that the posts that are special to the writer sink like a lead baloon with readers. Would someone now please post a comment on my Peerless Potugese Polyphony post!
Anonymous said…
Dear blogger, indeed, you do not need to apologise for not being "totally fair". It is a futile excercise and also somewhat näive to expect every comment to be fair and objective. You have only to reed the different, contrasting reviews about Dudamel and his Proms concert to arrive to a clear conclusion: A critic exposes his inner, personal feelings about what he hears or sees. It is up to us to digest and make the best of it.

An old friend once gave me the answer to the mother of all questions (..."To be or not to be, that is the question"...). I don't know if he made it up, or if it was a borrowed thought, and I do not care, really.

The answer has ten words, each has only one syllable with two letters each:


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