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Rosalia Szabo rehearses Telemann. Photo: Philip Crebbin
Rosalia Szabo rehearses Telemann. Photo: Philip Crebbin

During the final and only local rehearsal, solo flutist Rosalia Szabo impressed, filling the church with her magnificent solo from Michael Haydn's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in D. Born in 1974 in Cegled, Hungary, this former soloist with the Danubia Symphony Orchestra has won many international awards for her sensitive playing. She is now first solo flutist at the Sächsische Staatskapelle in Dresden and has given numerous concerts all over Europe. Her presence in Oberstdorf provided a charming and skilled enrichment to Dennis Russell Davis's Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra has been with Dennis Russell Davies since 1995 and, quite rightly, they enjoy an excellent reputation, regularly touring Europe, Asia, South America and the USA. The high quality of their playing shows the excellent results that can be achieved when a conductor is very much in tune with the needs of every single one of his orchestra members. His approach is very American: positive reinforcement rather than temper tantrums, and the atmosphere is of people united in the quest to bring out the best from the music they are about to perform.

Rehearsal with Rosalia Szabo. Photo: Philip Crebbin
Rehearsal with Rosalia Szabo. Photo: Philip Crebbin

The program included, among others, the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in G by Joseph Haydn and a real treat as a finale: the haunting, intensely personal and tragic Chamber Symphony Op 110a by Shostakovich, based on his String Quartet No 8. Dennis Russell Davies's orchestra plays with a rare unity -- everyone listens to everyone else; there is no division, as sometimes is the case, between the purely technical and the more intuitive orchestra members. This unity, together with Dennis Russell Davies's emotional interpretation, is what turned Shostakovich into an event of the superlative kind.

First, there was the Oberstdorf setting: a stark contrast between the beautiful location and the depressing mood of the piece. By the time Davies raised his baton for the opening notes of Shostakovich, darkness had fallen over the mountains. Inside the church, pale golden lighting reflected off Christ's stations of the cross on the walls. Interesting also the choice of dress: Dennis Russell Davies dressed completely in black but the male orchestra members wearing blood-red ties with their black outfits.

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Copyright © 14 August 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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