2018 Proms Theodor Currentzis - MusicAeterna and Khatia Buniatishvlii
Posted by Geoff Diggines on August 19, 2018, 9:55 am
I had heard a great deal about this band and conductor. So I made a point of tuning in to R3.The Beethoven Second Symphony went well with 'period' style swiftness of tempo - also the 'Andante con moto' was well observed in terms of tempo. But the real disappointment here was the famous lead in to the triumphant finale of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Currentzis ignored Beethoven's instruction that the beginning of the crescendo is 8 bars before the C major of the finale. He ended up smudging the whole crucial design, and the finale itself provided no compensation sounding loud and often incoherent in terms of structure. In fact when I listened again it seemed that throughout the symphonic tension came from without, rather than from within. The encore, the finale from the 7th Symphony, was an improvement, also better played. |
The Buniatishvili concert was televised; it would have to be with Buniatishvili who is a visual spectacle. Tom Service of the BBC was more agitated than usual, he kept telling us that Buniatishvili was going to turn in something totally different in the Greig concerto. He assured us that we were all in for something different and exciting. And so it turned out to be. The piano diva emerged wearing a tight fitting black dress - and with her inflected lipstick and great mop of black hair (which she tossed around vigorously) she was very much the musical queen of the noir style femme fatale'. Miss Buniatishvili is indeed a highly gifted pianist, with dazzling finger work. The camera kept zooming in to her vivid facial expressions. Again it was all redolent of a highly glamourous femme fatale. And at one point, as if to project a sense adventure, and animation, her behind left the piano seat and she became air-borne. This, and her playing, were all highly amusing, and at times inspired with her pianistic virtuosity. After the performance, the proms audience loved it, I remembered the likes of Gilels, and Solomon; how their playing was virtuosic in a way which perfectly complimented the conductor and the music. Gilels articulation of transitions was something totally lacking the Georgian wonder. Her encore, Debussy's 'Clare de lune', was a dubious lesson in slow motion. But I don't want to be too churlish, Buniatishvili's histrionics and 'look' (she is a visual event in her own right, aside from the music), are certainly entertaining. But ultimately I was left wondering where did the composer and his/her wishes go?