Monday, February 13, 2017

The reign in Spain, part 1: Reviews of the St. Louis Symphony's Spanish tour

Violinist Gil Shaham
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If you follow the peregrinations of our St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, you are no doubt aware that they have just completed a tour of Spain, playing gigs in Valencia, Madrid, and Oviedo.

Wondering how the band was received by the local critics, I asked my wife (who can actually read and speak Spanish) to do some Spanish-language Googling for me. So far the only thing that has surfaced is a critique of their February 8th appearance in Valencia by Justo Romero, the senior critic at Levante-EMV in Valencia and originally published there. It's not available at the Levante-EMV web site for some reason but was retrieved from, which appears to be an arts aggregator of some sort.

Anyway, Sherry says he pretty much disliked everything and everyone except for Gil Shaham. As far as I can tell from the clunky Google Translate English version, he singles out nearly every section of the orchestra for some sort of criticism and hates both Maestro Robertson's podium style and his artistic decisions.

As my own review of this same program clearly indicates, I don't agree.

As this was the orchestra's first concert after their transatlantic flight, it's possible they weren't in peak form (I am certainly not in peak form after one of those), and I will admit that some of his comments single out issues that I have brought up as well in the past. But it feels to me like the reviewer is making mountains out of molehills to some extent. When a critic goes out of his way to make snarky comments about the conductor's Spanish pronunciation, one is perhaps justified in raising an eyebrow. I know that if a foreign conductor said "thank you" in heavily accented English, I wouldn't regard the quality of his or her accent as worthy of mention in my review.

Anyway, Sherry and I will continue to look for reviews and I'll post them here as they turn up.

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