Saturday, October 29, 2022

Berliner Philharmonie, Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, Berlin

A very animated Maxim Emelyanychev nipped through the Figaro Overture, played precisely if not much more, with an emphatic moment towards the end that came across as a contrivance. The Serenade did without direction, the players doing it for themselves and infectiously – splendidly crisp timpani (and with an unexpected cadenza in the Finale) – this lightly-turned, witty and urbane, reading was a joy. Following the interval, the ‘Prague’ Symphony (No.38) – a Desert Island candidate for me – and once through a rather laborious introduction, received a lively and shapely outing with some ‘period’ touches, as well as vivid detail and wide dynamic range. The slow movement was lovingly treated, and the Finale fleet and poised. First-time repeats were observed in all three movements (there’s no Minuet) and also the Finale’s second half. Earlier, with Emelyanychev directing from an attractive-sounding fortepiano, Sabine Devieilhe caressed and expressed the vocal selections, not least the first number, sung from the heart, accompanied sensitively, and she went on to be Kostanze (without fortepiano), its Queen of the Night-like high notes negotiated fearlessly; and the C-minor Mass snippet, subtly coloured by an organ (not Emelyanychev), and with beguiling flute, oboe and bassoon solos, was sublime, Devieilhe now repositioned with woodwind colleagues. To close the first part an unlisted Lied, Emelyanychev returning to the fortepiano to gently strum for a setting I cannot name (if no doubt by the composer singular to this concert), orchestra as spectators. The Idomeneo extract was omitted; nevertheless this former cellist stole the show vocally.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Le nozze di Figaro: Overture
“Oiseaux, si tous les ans”, arietta

Serenade in D major, “Serenata notturna” [unconducted]
Die Entführung aus dem Serail: “Ach, ich liebte, war so glücklich”

Mass in C minor: “Et incarnatus est”

Idomeneo: “Zeffiretti lusinghieri” [not performed]

[A song unknown to your reviewer]
Symphony No. 38 “Prague”