Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest

This early-evening concert opened with a quick-fire account of Beethoven’s First Symphony, eager and robust if a little too slick, keenly detailed and with drilled rhythms, played with panache, yet overall rather brusque especially in the second movement, which lacked charm, sometimes ruthless elsewhere, and the Finale highlighted the trumpets. The twenty-minute Rusalka Fantasy is a great success, adapting a wonderful opera into a wholly convincing symphonic poem of description, circumstance and drama; wondrous beauty, too, such as the soulful ‘Song to the Moon’, violin as soprano, effectively so. The Czech Philharmonic (just one of numerous international orchestras gracing the 2023 Festival – which opened last Sunday with the George Enescu Philharmonic & Cristian Măcelaru) was totally inside the music and also very responsive to the Enescu that followed, a score that does nothing obvious or predictable – suggestive, atmospheric, enigmatic – Enescu weaving complex webs of large-orchestra painterly sound and, also involving the solo and female choral singers, thrilling waves of high emotions, music to be enraptured by in this impressive performance. (LSO/Rattle in less than two hours.)

Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in C major Op. 21
Dvořák Rusalka Fantasy (Orchestral Suite from the Opera Rusalka; arr. Tomáš Ille / Manfred Honeck)
Enescu Vox Maris Op. 31


IOSIF ION PRUNNER conductor of the choir