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The wagnerian preferences of Cristian Mandeal

Grand Palace Hall
09/16/2005 -  
Enescu : Suite no. 2 in C major op. 20
Beethoven : Phantasy for piano, choir and orchestra in C minor op. 80
Wagner : Prelude and Isolde’s Death
Skriabin : „Le Poème de l’Extase”

Chorus of the „George Enescu” Philharmonic (chorus master Iosif Ion Prunner),
Melvyn Tan (piano),
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Cristian Mandeal (conductor)

For the second Bucharest meeting with the London Philharmonic Orchestra it was the turn of conductor Cristian Mandeal to rise the baton and lead a program Enescu-Beethoven-Wagner-Skriabin. The well-known theme of the Overture (Allegro ben moderato) from Enescu’s Suite no. 2 was played forcefully and colourfully. The flute solo from the Minuetto (Ben moderato) and the bassoon calls from the Aria (Andante mesto) demonstrated the high quality of the instrumentalists.
Following the Enescu opus, Beethoven's Phantasy for piano, choir and orchestra had as soloist the pianist Melvyn Tan. The Singapore born artist, living in Great Britain, is certainly a performer of consistent international circulation and, undoubtedly, his repertory (Mozart, Weber, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, Dvorak, plus the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven, all of them recorded on CD) indicates a certain diversity of stylistic approaches. On this occasion, however, he placed himself a little too distant from the kernel of the work, this wonderful precursor to the Ninth Symphony. For an instant I thought that Tan is in full process of (re)studying the opus (he played watching the score). He ran over the keyboard very material, dispassionate, with a cold eye and without much attention to the sound. A little disappointing, to say the least. A good co-operation orchestra – piano – chorus (the Bucharest Philharmonic Choir coached by Iosif Ion Prunner) was assured by the conductor.
I wrote somewhere about the wagnerian preferences of Cristian Mandeal. This is evidenced by the way in which he builds a composite work like Prelude and “Liebestod”. The crescendi and decrescendi which contain in their midst the culminating points (in tutti) have their methaphysic thinking and Mandeal drips honeylike the spirit of serene “Love death” in the sound induced to the orchestra. Wonderful was the murmuring of the cellos, wonderful the dominating violins.
The artistic level of the concert was completed by the highly professional interpretation of Skriabin's Poème de l'Extase.

Costin Popa



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