Jaap van Zweden

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maestrob
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Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:08 pm

Jaap van Zweden was recently chosen to succeed Alan Gilbert at the helm of the NY Philharmonic. He's currently leading the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, a fine group, and has made some interesting recordings with them that can be difficult to find here in the States. I had to journey to England (via internet, of course) to find most of these, all of which have had glowing reviews attached. His Brahms symphonies were all excellent (reviewed elsewhere), and the Stravinsky pictured below showed flashes of brilliance in both the Rite of Spring and Apollon Musagete (written for strings only). The sound quality features a thumping bass in the Rite, and cleanly articulated difficult passages in both pieces. My only criticism is that the strings in Apollon lack a certain finess: perhaps Van Zweden will re-record the piece with NY eventually. My take is to agree with the reviewers and assign 4 1/2 stars. Other reviews to follow as we progress.

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Last edited by maestrob on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Heck148
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Heck148 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:55 pm

maestrob wrote:Jaap van Zweden was recently chosen to succeed Alan Gilbert at the helm of the NY Philharmonic. He's currently leading the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, a fine group, and has made some interesting recordings with them that can be difficult to find here in the States.
Heard him two years ago in Chicago - he conducted Prokofieff Sym #5, and Shostakovich 5 on the next program....very fine...excellent performances - the Shostakovich was esp exciting, a very thrilling concert...They also played Britten Sinfonia da Requiem, Britten Vln Cto, and some nifty Shostakovich Instrumental miniatures....
Some of the best conducting I've seen/heard recently - along with Bychkov/CSO, Oramo, and Nelsons with BSO

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by slofstra » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:03 am


John F
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by John F » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:06 am


I almost understand that. :D
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Allen » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:26 pm

Jaap is also the Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and will stay in the same post until at least 2022.

http://www.hkphil.org/eng/press/press_r ... 160609.jsp

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by John F » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:21 am

So Zweden is music director of the Dallas Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, as well as "honorary guest conductor" of the Rotterdam Philharmonic. It would be nice if he can find a little time for the New York Philharmonic any time soon. He won't conduct here at all in 2016-17, and the Philharmonic says he will conduct "several weeks" in 2017-18, which I take to mean maybe 3 weeks.
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:33 pm

Heck148 wrote:
maestrob wrote:Jaap van Zweden was recently chosen to succeed Alan Gilbert at the helm of the NY Philharmonic. He's currently leading the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, a fine group, and has made some interesting recordings with them that can be difficult to find here in the States.
Heard him two years ago in Chicago - he conducted Prokofieff Sym #5, and Shostakovich 5 on the next program....very fine...excellent performances - the Shostakovich was esp exciting, a very thrilling concert...They also played Britten Sinfonia da Requiem, Britten Vln Cto, and some nifty Shostakovich Instrumental miniatures....
Some of the best conducting I've seen/heard recently - along with Bychkov/CSO, Oramo, and Nelsons with BSO
That's what I like about what I've heard so far: he gets "under the skin" of an orchestra and manages to generate an electricity and level of energy that invigorates even often-played repertoire.

Agree with you about the other conductors you mentioned. Nelson's recording of Shostakovich X received an award from BBC magazine, a rarity for an American orchestra.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by John F » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:38 pm

BBC Music Magazine might have been a tiny bit biased in favor of Andris Nelsons, who was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for seven years immediately before moving to Boston. English music and record review magazines have long been susceptible to that kind of influence.
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:35 pm

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This is a live recording of Mahler III, with Van Zweden leading the Dallas Symphony, although you'd never know it until the applause breaks out at the very end of the final movement. Kelley O'Connor is the excellent soloist, and the Children's Chorus of Greater Dallas sing with proper enthusiasm.

While lacking the magic of Bernstein's NY recording for Columbia, I have to say that Van Zweden's pacing is spot-on, and the Dallas orchestra acquits itself magnificently in this gigantic work. Strings could be better and more delicate in spots (perhaps more players would be called for), yet the brass and winds acquit themselves with panache. I'd like to hear more commitment from the players overall, but this recording impressed me tremendously considering the resources involved. A gigantic undertaking, well-resolved. Four & 1/2 stars.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Sat Jun 25, 2016 11:34 am

Pardon my ignorance, but can anyone tell me how to pronounce Jaap van Zweden?

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Allen » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:54 pm

How to pronounce Jaap's name ......

Watch this interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeVdfv6eXNI

The host mentioned the name at around 00:58 of the tape.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:21 pm

maestrob wrote:Pardon my ignorance, but can anyone tell me how to pronounce Jaap van Zweden?
You can check Wikipedia. The colons in the Dutch version denote a longer pronunciation of the preceding vowel. The other difference I can see is that in Dutch the "v" would be pronounced like English "f," just as in German.

As you know, there are also long and short vowel sounds in German, which is not the same as long and short in English. A long vowel can be prolonged. A short one is stopped immediately by the following consonant. The ancestors of Bach were named Baach, which means that his name in that sense does not really mean "brook."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

maestrob
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:30 pm

Allen wrote:How to pronounce Jaap's name ......

Watch this interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeVdfv6eXNI

The host mentioned the name at around 00:58 of the tape.
Thanks, Allen. The interview was interesting also. So far, I've found that he has associations with Dallas, Radio Netherlands and Hong Kong: how many orchestras can one man manage? To add NY to that mix is quite extraordinary. Something's got to give!

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:30 pm

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Bruckner VI is a vastly underrated work. My favorite rendition up to now is Solti/Chicago, only because of the quality of the orchestra and Solti's sure grip on tempo. Yet Jaap van Zweden's interpretation in his recording with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has the same discipline as Solti (or Paavo Jarvi's more recent account), and the orchestra plays magnificently, including the all-important brass. I find nothing to criticize here: this is a first-class reading. Five stars.

maestrob
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:04 pm

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This Mahler VI with Jaap van Zweden leading the Dallas Symphony is decidedly a good, MOR affair. It lacks the fire and brimstone of Bernstein or Barbirolli, yet van Zweden does get the excellent Dallas Symphony to not only play the notes right, but his disciplined tempi allow the shapes of the piece to come through handsomely. I'd love to hear van Zweden conduct this symphony with a great orchestra: I firmly believe this interesting performance would acquire more depth with NY or Berlin. The last movement is especially fine. Four stars and an extra 1/2 for effort.

maestrob
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:01 pm

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At last we have the Maestro leading a world-class orchestra in a great symphony (Mahler V), and the results leave me just slightly disappointed. Having grown up with the passion of Bernstein, Solti, and HVK, I find this very good rendition just a bit tame, perhaps too polite. Van Zweden obviously has a good grasp of the work, and his pacing is about right: what I would like is more involvement by the orchestra. Obviously this is van Zweden's first try (2008) with a world-class band, so he's a bit timid, thus I can forgive his more laid-back approach. That said, the finale is led with great confidence and energy. Being the concertmeister at age 18 under Leonard Bernstein with the Concertgebouw certainly adds to the Maestro's credentials. Four enthusiastic stars, with hopes for the future.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Lance » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:15 pm

I am VERY pleased about this appointment. I have admired Jaap van Zweden's recordings for quite some time. All I can say is: it's about time for the NYP!
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by slofstra » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:39 pm

maestrob wrote:Pardon my ignorance, but can anyone tell me how to pronounce Jaap van Zweden?

It goes by a bit fast in the video. Here it is in phonetic English, in slow motion.

Yup fan Su-way'-den.

The 'aa' is slightly elongated. Short 'u'.
Last edited by slofstra on Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

maestrob
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:43 pm

Thanks, Henry! :)

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:17 pm

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After listening to a basket of Jaap van Zweden's recordings, this Shostakovich V with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic is a stand-out, with pianissimo strings that send shivers up the spine in the Largo, and refined playing in the rest. Van Zweden believes in this music, and makes us believe in it as well. As for tempo in the last movement, always controversial, he starts off with a bang as marked, but after the introduction he shifts gears to a faster tempo (i.e. Bernstein) that makes perfect sense, and concludes the movement as written. This is as fine a performance of this symphony that I've heard. Five stars. I can't wait to hear him do this in NY!

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:59 am

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Bruckner's first numbered symphony is not a great work by any stretch, but, like Shostakovich I, it deserves a hearing now and then, and when done right (as in this case) it can be rewarding. All the elements of style that made Bruckner a unique voice in the symphonic world are here: the sudden pauses, his Wagnerian use of brass (trombones in particular), and his gift for fragmented melody. All appear in this symphony here ably conducted by Jaap van Zweden and played with depth and respect by the Netherlands Radio Symphonic Orchestra. Not since Solti/Chicago have I heard such detail and dare I say excitement in the interpretation. This is van Zweden at his best in a new recording (2015) that cleans the mud off Bruckner and sparkles with clarity in all sections of the orchestra. Five stars, well-earned.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Heck148 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:44 am

maestrob wrote:This is as fine a performance of this symphony that I've heard. Five stars. I can't wait to hear him do this in NY!
I heard him conduct Shost #5 in Chicago a couple years ago - really outstanding...very exciting, high intensity performance...,

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:02 pm

Heck148 wrote:
maestrob wrote:This is as fine a performance of this symphony that I've heard. Five stars. I can't wait to hear him do this in NY!
I heard him conduct Shost #5 in Chicago a couple years ago - really outstanding...very exciting, high intensity performance...,
That's what I mean about this conductor. All van Zweden needs is a world-class ensemble, and he will make great music happen. I believe he has matured (i.e. gained enough confidence in his interpretation) to the point where he can lead NY to a series of first-class concerts when he finally arrives. I'm excited about his recordings, and look forward to the discs he will record here in NY.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:40 pm

Van Zweden's Rheingold with, of all ensembles, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, is
much more effective than I expected, with a solid cast and an excellent Wotan in
Matthias Goerne. Van Zweden's conducting is a bit on the safe side, but
especially effective in the descent to the realm of the Niebelungen. Michelle de
Young excels as Fricka, bringing the role both experience and depth. The giants
are a bit light, but both are veterans in their roles. The lighter orchestra is
no match for Solti's Vienna or Keilberth's Bayreuth ensemble, but the excellent
acoustics of the hall do them proud. The Alberich of Peter Sidhom is
particularly effective. This is not a great, but a very good performance, and
worth every penny to have Goerne's Wotan on the shelf. The one weak point is the Donner of Oleksandr Pushniak, who has a very wide vibrato, not helped by van Zweden's too broad tempo at the critical moment (Heda, heda hedo!). Four stars.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by John F » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:44 pm

For me, that's a cast of A-list singers in nearly all the principal roles, though not all of them may actually have sung their roles before. Matthias Goerne for instance (I can't check here whether he has yet, I've only seen him as Papageno); but I'd expect him to meld the strengths of the opera singer and the Lieder singer in a personal way, as Hotter once did. And without having heard this recording, I'd expect Youn and especially Milling to be strong in the black bass roles; he was an imposing, threatening Hunding at the Met in 2004.

As for the conducting, "Das Rheingold" is the Ring opera in which it's easiest to make an effect, if the orchestra is up to it. It was Georg Solti's first Wagner recording and, for some of us, the best part of his Ring cycle. (Alan Gilbert will be conducting it with the New York Philharmonic at the end of the season.) So I've no reason not to expect a good performance from van Zweden. "Gotterdammerung" and even the familiar "Die Walkure," well, that's a different story; but it's not what we're talking about here.
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:49 pm

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This excellent Bruckner VIII with Jaap van Zweden leading the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra shows the conductor at the height of his powers in a recent recording (2012). What I hear in this disc is an orchestra that has been improved mightily in the years that van Zweden has led them; this Bruckner is sensitive to nuance without going overboard, yet disciplined exactly as it should be, with gentle rubati here and there, inserted without disturbing the overarching architecture of the piece. The strings here are much improved over the earlier recordings with the same group, and the brass is to die for. There's truly a magnificent sense of overall cohesion. Five stars.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:24 pm

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Jaap van Zweden's 2008 Stravinsky disc of Petrushka, Pulcinella, and the Symphonies of Wind Instruments is a mixed bag. Petrushka is a fiendishly difficult piece, especially in the first 5-7 minutes, and here van Zweden lets me down: things just don't gel properly, and the music lacks energy and snap that make the lead-off so interesting. Lack of rehearsal, probably. The rest of Petrushka is not bad, but still not inspiring. Pulcinella OTOH is definitely under tighter control, but it's easier music, and the orchestra handles it with aplomb. The short Symphonies for Wind Instruments rounds out the disc handsomely. 3 1/2 stars.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Allen » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:02 pm

Article in New York Times:

"Jaap Van Zweden Is a Global Maestro of Music and Multitasking"

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/arts/ ... .html?_r=2

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Lance » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:09 pm

This guy van Zweden sounds like a super human being, let alone a conductor well on his way to the very TOP if not already there. I know he will make it. The world needs more like him.
Allen wrote:Article in New York Times:

"Jaap Van Zweden Is a Global Maestro of Music and Multitasking"

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/arts/ ... .html?_r=2
Lance G. Hill
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maestrob
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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:34 pm

Yes, I agree. Van Zweden keeps getting better as a conductor. If you read my reviews carefully, you'll see that his earlier recordings are not as good as his later ones, which are excellent, especially the Mahler III with Dallas. He's no Bernstein, but I believe he will grow into the NY position nicely. All he needs is more confidence to dominate the orchestra and an energy level to match: his recent discs show that he has a disciplined style, which I like, I believe the energy will come with maturity. Certainly he's the right man for the job at this point in his career.

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:01 pm

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There is an excellent review of this recording on amazon which I mostly agree with, so I won't make this one as long as I should. Jaap Van Zweden leads a beautifully sung and played Walkure here, with a cast that is uniformly excellent. Matthias Goerne is a magnificent Wotan, Stuart Skelton is the real deal as Siegmund, and Heidi Melton sings a fine Sieglinde. Petra Lang carries the role of Brunnhilde well: her mezzo roots stand her in good stead giving her the necessary stamina for the final scene. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra plays beautiful Wagner, in fact, Van Zweden's whole conception of the opera emphasizes the beauty of the writing. Skelton's "Walse! Walse!" is the longest I've heard, but he accomplishes that feat at the expense of the passion in the moment. This is a most minor quibble. This is a Walkure that deserves its place next to those of Hotter, London, and Morris: a magnificent achievement. Now if they can only find a Siegfried........stay tuned!

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by John F » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:49 am

I've only heard a couple of short excerpts on YouTube, part of Wotan's farewell and the end of Act 1, and maybe they aren't typical, though they are Naxos's choice to promote the complete recording. For me, they don't add up to much. The only positive impression I got was from Stuart Skelton's Siegmund, not surprising after his excellent Tristan at the Met. Neither the orchestra nor, from the online biographies, van Zweden have ever performed this opera or any other opera in the theatre; they are novices. Both appear to have first learned this music for the concert performances on which the recording is based. Perhaps that's why van Zweden's slow tempos and the orchestra's competent but featureless playing are soporific - Wotan is putting Brünnhilde to sleep but not the audience! Goerne's first try at Wotan, this bit of it, is disappointing; though chiefly a Lieder singer and a very fine one, he does very little with the words or vocal color. Maybe if he had ever sung Wotan in the theatre, hiw singing would have more dramatic variety and spirit.

There are many Ring cycles on record, both studio and live performance recordings, some of them great. I see no need for this one, apart from Naxos having decided it needs a Ring to sell. The obvious first choice remains the first complete recording, by an all-star cast, conductor, and orchestra with long experience in the opera house. And there are any number of supplementary choices with far more to offer than what I've heard of this one.
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