The concert on Friday night at Heinz Hall began with a well-done filmed introduction by Honeck and musicians.
Emphasizing the individual musicians was smart as well as amusing. The performance of "
Honeck led a very exciting performance, by turn impulsive and expansive. Of course, the volume produced by the horn section was stunning, with
The Suite from "Der Rosenkavalier" shared similar performance virtues in sonority beautiful phrasing. The music of the last act trio was slow, but the conductor pushed the next section to an exciting conclusion.
"Elektra" was written to a text by poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal on the ancient Greek story. The opera's expressionist sensibilities and harmony on the verge of atonality made it a touchstone for many of the 20th century's progressive composers. It was performed by
Honeck's "Elektra Symphonic Rhapsody" lasts about 35 minutes, just under a third of the opera's length. The conductor also reduced Strauss' gargantuan orchestration somewhat, though no one could complain of lack of volume or color.
The maestro begins with Elektra's motif given twice, followed by music of various characters starting with King Agamemnon, whose murder before the curtain rises is the animating force for Elektra's obsession with vengeance. Honeck includes Klytamnestra's garish entrance, covered in jewels but with gnawing internal pains.
Honeck's piece is akin to one of Strauss' long symphonic poems and a welcome addition to the repertoire.
The concert will be repeated at
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