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<<<  <<  -- 2 --  Karen Haid    BEETHOVEN IN BUDAPEST


The fourth piano concerto followed with Hungary's own Zoltán Kocsis at the keyboard. Although a relativiely small country, from this performance it became apparent that there is more than one interpretation of Beethoven's music in Hungary. Kocsis tended toward a more expressive rhythmic execution, which just did not sync with the orchestra. The first movement, in particular, was disjointed as things too often did not line up. While Kocsis ellicited a nice sound from the piano, he certainly wouldn't have been in the running for the orchestra's 'team player' award. The Andante was more relaxing for the listener as compositionally, the piano and orchestra parts don't require the same level of integration. Additionally, the closing Rondo clipped along at a pace that didn't allow for great deviation.

Gábor Takács-Nagy conducting MÁV Szimfonikus Zenekar
Gábor Takács-Nagy conducting MÁV Szimfonikus Zenekar

The gem on this evening's program was the seventh symphony, and judging by the tight ensemble playing and frequent visual interaction amongst the musicans, the selection of the group's 'team player' award may have been a difficult one. Takács-Nagy conducted as if the orchestra was his instrument, and better yet, he had a cohesive musical plan. In the Allegretto a distinct chamber-music feel was achieved through the homogeneous interpretation of the motivic figures combined with the flexibility of the melodic passages. It was a joy to the ears, and refreshingly, seemed to also be uplifting for the musicians themselves. Unfortunately, the exuberance of the Presto got a bit out of hand by the time the fourth movement came around. The brass were on the edge throughout the evening, but they crossed the line in the Allegro con brio, when their off-beats essentially obliterated the principal thematic material in the strings. Thus said, this symphonic performance was noteworthy. Kudos to the employees of the Hungarian State Railway.

Copyright © 13 October 2007 Karen Haid, Las Vegas, USA



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