Currentzis and MusicAeterna: subtle freedom | Entertainment | The USA Print

Currentzis and MusicAeterna: subtle freedom


Director: Theodor Currentzis

Place and date: Palau de la Música (14/V/2023) and Auditorium (15/V/2023)

The two presentations by director Currentzis on successive days are notable. Although very different in formal content, Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies No. 6 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, together with Metamorphosis by Richard Strauss, they speak to us of interiority, above the opulent sound of some moments of the symphonies.

The history of gestures related to this director’s show conjugate expectations in music lovers that range from unconditional admiration to reflective doubt. But it is clear to everyone that he does not leave indifferent. Undoubtedly, criticism is a personal, meditated appreciation, and in turn exposed to disagreement, but these versions that we have heard –and seen– leave us suggestive elements, among others, regarding the path and future of an organization as it is ” the orchestra”, already old, anchored to the splendor of industrial society, also typical of the three works mentioned.

The orchestra, supported by capital that does not seem to value democracy, nevertheless breathes freedom in the director and musicians

This coherence therefore needs incentives, and the keys seem to lie in the figure of the conductor, since the new generations of instrumentalists bring technical excellence and artistic capacity. And Currentzis has an impact on this, with a tailor-made orchestra –it is true that with the support of capital that does not seem to value democracy– that brings novelties to the musical experience. Although it may seem contradictory, freedom seems to be one of them, the one manifested by the director and expressed by his musicians in a dialogue that nourishes both. In fact, it is one of the few orchestras in which those who play –most of them standing up, or the cellos seated and not much else– constantly look at the conductor, in a game of demand and response that usually culminates in smiles. There are many orchestras that before starting say to themselves: “Who are we playing against today?”… Here there is symbiosis and agreement due to a very careful phrasing, elaborated in detail, to enjoy the color and subtle intensity of Mahler’s chamber music moments… and also of the opulence of the winds.

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This quality of “the subtle”, the not excessive but significant, is very present in these interpretations, in the management of the rhythm of the third movement of the pathetic, that if it falls into the opposite enthusiasm it sounds like a military band, and even in its almost sensual character at the beginning that encourages the interpreter to move the body and to leave behind hieraticism; in the freedom of the tempo, in the moments of breathing (there is air in that architecture), in the management of the dynamics (perhaps excessively tenuous in moments of Mahler’s 9th, but very effective as when the clarinet makes its sound from depth in Tchaikovsky), or in the management of the tensions of the phrasing and the vector sequences so characteristic of the three composers. There are also gestures pour la galerie but they are fewer and fewer and it seems that Currentzis is moving towards the interior rather than towards the superfluous and volatile.

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