Barenboim Meets Mahler: Better Late Than Never

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Ralph
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Barenboim Meets Mahler: Better Late Than Never

Post by Ralph » Sat May 14, 2005 5:22 am

Carnegie Hall is one of the few venues where the expression, "Packed to the Rafters," has a visceral feel. Last night there wasn't an empty seat as Maestro Daniel Barenboim began the first of a three-concert visit with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Pierre Boulez conducts tonight's cocnert).

What brought most of the audience, I'm sure, was Mahler's Ninth Symphony. Personally I prefer to hear that grand work sans any other but the CSO began with a very nice reading of Bach's Ochestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067. Principal Flute Mathieu Dufour was the enaged solist whose artful playing added a lot while Barenboim conducted from the keyboard.

So how's Barenboim with Mahler? Pretty good but don't forget this orchestra has a lot of Mahler experience, especially under the late Sir Georg Solti. This was my third Mahler 9 in a little over a year, the previous performances being by the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (also in Carnegie).

Barenboim seemed enthused and he conducted with much attention to detail. The orchestra responded with a coherent reading, the brass and percussion being especially noticeable as well as flutist Dafour. I did feel there was a slight slipping off by the strings with the coda but I can't explain why.

I was in the front balcony last night as I bought my ticket late and wouldn't buy a three-digit parterre seat.

All in all, an excellent concert.
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