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The Dresden Philharmonic is an ensemble with a 135 year history and tradition. This is a world class orchestra. Rich, warm string tone, sweet, elegant winds, and mellow, sonorous brass are the hallmarks of the 'Saxony sound'. Frühbeck de Burgos is a conductor with a wide ranging repertoire which he conducts with tremendous flair and enthusiasm. He inspires orchestras to play at their highest and best level. (At this past summer's Tanglewood Festival in Lenox, Massachusetts, he led the student orchestra in inspired performances of major scores by Haydn and Richard Strauss.) His affinity for Sibelius's sound world is total. The surging waves of orchestral sound, radiant pianissimos and brilliant flashes of color were awesome! The conductor infused the concerto with the brooding undercurrent of angular modernity that lies beneath the score's deceptively flashy surface.

Sibelius's 1900 tone poem Finlandia made the composer a national icon. What a glorious performance Frühbeck de Burgos and the Dresden orchestra achieved! The richly burnished, precise brass chords of the opening were beautifully spacious and measured. The fiery brilliance of the ensemble playing was stunning! The conductor's vigorous direction and attention to minute instrumental details made the familiar score into freshly minted musical gold. In the central section the pure toned, elegantly articulated flute solo by Karin Hofmann was truly beautiful. Frühbeck de Burgos's deeply reverential treatment of the Finnish national hymn was stirring! Here was Sibelius playing and conducting in the great tradition of Robert Kajanus and Sixten Ehrling! A great performance!

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Copyright © 13 December 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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