Invitation to Reflection
Grand Palace Hall
Beethoven : Symphony no. 6 in F major op. 68 “Pastoral"
Brahms : Symphony no. 1 in C minor op. 68
Staatskapelle Dresden, Myung-Whun Chung (conductor)
The 400 years of history behind Staatskapelle of Dresden were felt by the audience. Of the two concerts scheduled I have watched the second one, a Beethoven – Brahms evening in which the distinguished virtues of the orchestra have been put in dazzling light by Myung-Whun Chung’s baton: sound deeply thought and expressed, nuances kneadded microscopically, optimal mixing of the sections voices, remarkable quality of the instrumentalists, high class throughout.
The first movement, Allegro ma non troppo, from Beethoven's “Pastoral” instantly revealed the quality of the sound of the strings section by means of airy pianissimi, like a zephyr embracing sweetly the space. The tone of the second section, Andante molto mosso, delicately, blurred, suggested an idyllic world, like a quiet cloudless dream. An approach not abbandoned by the conductor throughout the entire opus, even during the whirls of the penultimate part, Allegro. It was a dreamlike pastoral atmosphere, gentle and intensely descriptive. We have been blessed, conquered, searching for the poetry deep in our soul, sensibilized by the picturesque nature's charm painted with delicious notes by the musicians from Dresden.
In presenting Brahms' First Symphony, Myung-Whun Chung pulled us into his meditative, introspective world. By which means? He stopped any temptation to chilly, superficially perception, inviting us to follow his thinking, to cross his world together, pushing us to thoroughly feel every bar, every melodic line. He opened them widely and we entered the elongated pulse of his tempi, reminding one of those of illustrious conductors as Furtwängler and Bruno Walter or – why not? – of Sergiu Celibidache, the supreme philosopher of the baton.
Our most secret fibers felt the heaviness of the first part (Un poco sostenuto – Allegro), the poetry of the second (Andante sostenuto), the accurate detail of the third (Un poco allegretto e grazioso) as well as the gloomy presentiment of the fourth movement transfigured in the apotheotic final. It was an ultra-classical version, without licenses, where the profound humanistic message – Chung’s philosophy – penetrated the romantic phrases, wonderfully arched. A clear exposition, fully valorized in the very fiber of ours. (Listening to the encore, the Hungarian Dance no. 1 in G minor by Brahms, I could not be stopped to admire the quality of the strings, whose fluid nuances embracing the principal motif were indeed exalting).