Jaap van Zweden

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Jaap van Zweden

Post by Len_Z » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:39 am

Just came back from the NY Philharmonic's concert. They performed John Adams' 'Dark Waves' and the First Act of 'Die Walkure' with Jaap van Zweden conducting. I was absolutely floored by the beauty, lyricism, intensity and musicality of the new conductor in chief reading. I have heard some of his recordings before, but in all honesty must admit that they didn't prepare me for what I have witnessed at the DGH tonight.

Also, the NYPhil has just announced its next season: van Zweden will be conducting Bruckner's 8th, Mahler's 6th, DSCH's 7th, Beethoven's 5th etc. I don't think I had been so exciting about this orchestra in many years. Maybe even ever.

Anybody else thinks we finally have a real conductor in NY and has high expectations for what he could achieve here?

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by stickles » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:26 am

About 10 years ago, Chailly canceled in Chicago, and JvZ stepped in and changed the program from Mahler 10 to Bruckner 5. I remember on the first performance was so fine that I bought another ticket immediately. He has been a regular visitor in Chicago ever since. Top shelf Bruckner and Shostakovich. His last outing with the CSO was the German Requiem. Unfortunately that performance was too academic and lacking soul for me.
Incidentally not many new faces on the block has impressed me as much as JvZ upon first hearing. Jonas Kaufman in a free outdoor concert about 20 years ago, and maybe Denis Kozhukhin most recently

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:53 am

Listening to his recordings over the years, I believe he has gotten better with time. There's an excellent Mahler III with Dallas available, his Brahms Symphonies are pretty good, but his early Rite of Spring was not disciplined enough and lacked character. OTOH, his Ring with Hong Kong has mostly been very good IMHO. My feeling is that he's ready to take on a major orchestra at this point in his career, and more suited to lead the music that sells tickets than Alan Gilbert, who sounds bored in most rep, including his Nielsen recordings. Yes, I'm looking forward to Jaap van Zweden's tenure here in NY.

PS: Have just acquired his new Siegfied, and will report when I've had a chance to study it.

PPS: There's a thread from last year that I started reviewing van Zweden's commercial recordings. If you search for his name, it will come up......

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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by Lance » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:45 am

I am all in favour of JvZ. I have many recordings of him on various labels as a violinist. I think this new blood is absolutely needed for the NYP. I am sure we shall see many great happenings from the conductor.
Lance G. Hill

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]


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Re: Jaap van Zweden

Post by John F » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:20 am

That's certainly good news. I've been planning to go to some of his concerts next season, and now I look forward to them.

Here's the NY Times review, somewhat more restrained than Len_Z's:

Review: Restrained Wagner at the New York Philharmonic
FEB. 15, 2018

Jaap van Zweden, the music director designate of the New York Philharmonic, built up good will with the orchestra’s extended audience on Tuesday evening when he announced the details of his first season, which begins in September. He enthusiastically discussed his plans and programming, including five premieres he will conduct, the introduction of two new-music series tied to themes the season will explore, and much more. It was an auspicious occasion for the Philharmonic.

Less auspicious was Mr. van Zweden’s conducting on Wednesday night at David Geffen Hall. The concert, a program pairing the New York premiere of a short, recent work by John Luther Adams with a concert performance of Act I from Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” was an opportunity to find out more about what he might bring to the Philharmonic, and to New York audiences. If anything, Mr. van Zweden can be too feisty and forceful in his performances of the standard repertory. So I was surprised that his account of this 70-minute Wagner act often lacked tension and urgency.

The performance started strongly. In the dark, pulsing orchestra music of the opening scene, Wagner simultaneously depicts the stormy weather that pummels a wounded young Siegmund as he is pursued through a dense forest, and the internal despair that never leaves him. Mr. van Zweden conducted this music with lean textures and crisp attacks.

But once Siegmund (here the veteran tenor Simon O’Neill), seeking shelter in a hut, chances upon the fearful young Sieglinde (the radiant soprano Heidi Melton), Wagner’s music turns mysterious and quietly suspenseful. The isolated Siegmund and beaten-down Sieglinde, who is trapped in a marriage to the bullying Hunding, look at each other longingly. In fact, they are twins, separated since their early childhood. And during these passages Mr. van Zweden’s performance often went slack.

For whole stretches the music is daringly restrained, sometimes with just a solo instrument or two, as Wagner conveys the inner feelings of two lost souls. Perhaps Mr. van Zweden was trying too hard to be supportive and deferential to his singers. But these crucial exchanges sometimes seemed drained of mystery and apprehension.

Although Mr. O’Neill’s sound sometimes had a nasal, reedy quality, he brought both poignant sadness and youthful ardor to his performance. Singing with bloom and richness, Ms. Melton was a tender, vulnerable Sieglinde. The gravelly colorings of the bass John Relyea’s stentorian voice were ideal for Hunding. Things came together the best during climatic episodes, especially the conclusion of the act, when Siegmund mightily pulls a magic sword from a tree and claims his sister as his bride.

In Mr. Adams’s 12-minute orchestra work “Dark Waves,” the composer evokes heaving oceanic currents in almost pulseless spans of murky, tremulous sounds that swell and hover atop a recorded track of drone-line effects. This primordial piece proved a surprisingly effective prelude to the Wagner.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/arts ... eview.html
John Francis

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