Friday, April 15, 2011

Too many Fis(c)hers by half

Last Wednesday (6th) it was the (Chamber?) Orchestra of St Luke's, with the conductor Ivan Fisher and the violinist Nikolaj Znaider, at the Carnegie Hall, with an Eastern European programme consisting of Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak.

I went along with the idea of Fis(c)her conducting all of Haydn's symphonies (I have the full set on my iPod) and found his interpretation of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony suitably light and springy, fully Haydnesque.

And then the Tchaikovsky violin concerto started similarly lightly – as transparent as I have ever heard it. This was going to be interesting! Almost like a classical piece! But then Znaider, wearing a black suit with a scarlet lining, launched into a purely romantic interpretation, with lots of …..Somehow it did not seem to match the orchestra's style, and yet, somehow, it worked. Znaider wrung out every emotion from the piece, and then some. He replied to the rapt applause with a little bit of Bach, which I found quite nice, but at the beginning of this the phrasing went a bit astray – the phrases were merged into each other, though he recovered by the end of it.

Finally we had Dvorak's 7th symphony, of which, after almost a week, I cannot remember that much. Like all Dvorak it had a lovely viola solo or two, and some nice Bohemian country dance themes which the conductor (and the somewhat sparser audience than in the first half of the concert) enjoyed enjoyed fully – I think; the applause after this seemed somewhat sparing, but perhaps this is the New York style.

Returning home, I switched on my iPod for some more Fis(c)her Haydn – only to discover that these were conducted by the Hungarian Adam Fischer, rather than Ivan Fisher. Oops.