The Monday performance at the Kimmel Center by the
Then the second movement moved right into the center of melodic Legrand territory, unfurling slowly with a gentle, melancholic undertow and a warmth that moved beyond musical boundaries and the part of your brain that sifts good from bad. It simply couldn't be resisted. Edgier, jazz-influenced cross-rhythms brought the third movement to a relatively spirited, urbane close.
The range of colors and spatial effects (foreground vs. background) from Michel was often bold, and needed to be before the piece itself found its legs. Mostly, the concerto kept her so busy that she let pages of music drop to the stage floor as she was finished with them, making her bows charmingly problematic. Too bad Legrand wasn't there.
The rest of the concert under music director Dirk BrossÉ had its quirks. A suite of orchestrated dances by Rameau was, with the modern-instrument string tone, far from the French baroque composer's sound world. And in contrast to conductor laureate Ignat Solzhenitsyn's predilection for presenting symphonies with a unified overall tempo scheme, BrossÉ made each movement in Haydn's Symphony No. 104 an individual world.
Perhaps unintentionally, the performance became a cross-section of 20th-century Haydn performance practice. The slowish, weighty treatment of the first movement was Kurt Sanderling circa 1967, the more buoyant treatment of the second was
The orchestra strained to sustain the slower tempos but played fairly well for the most part, despite the absence of many of the usual faces (who are shared by Opera Philadelphia). I missed them very much.
(c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.philly.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services