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<<  -- 2 --  David Thompson    OF HEAD AND HEART


Inbal and his forces certainly impressed in the massive architecture of the outer movements. Pan awoke, and summer marched inexorably in with irresistible style, as Inbal held together the whole 35-plus minutes of majestic and exultant progress in masterly fashion. The concluding hymn to the love of God, surely one of the great slow movements in all music, was the great spiritual climax it should be, deeply felt, from the quiet tenderness of its opening, and building movingly to the radiant glory of its apotheosis.

But did the journey in between tie in to achieve symphonic unity? The four inner movements certainly provide a chocolate box of many incidental delights, and space forbids me to list all the excellent individual contributions from these talented musicians. I cannot leave unmentioned the felicitous woodwind playing in the 'flower' minuet, the magical posthorn solo, heard through the misty aura of cultured string tone in the third movement, a fervent delivery of Nietsche's 'Midnight' song from Michelle DeYoung, and the childlike fun of the bells and angels pronouncing absolution on the repentant St Peter -- the Trinity Boys' Choir a special delight here. What riches there are in this work, and how beautifully they were presented to us.

But I have yet to be convinced that the whole of this symphony is equal to the sum of its parts. Given the committed advocacy of Inbal and his forces, perhaps this is to dream the impossible dream.

And so to the transatlantic symphonic experience from the LA Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen. They gave us a programme that was imaginative, daring and tantalising: a juxtaposition of two choral Symphonies: Shostakovich 2 and Beethoven 9. Two works hymning ideals, but what different ideals!

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Copyright © 6 September 2002 David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK


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