Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The reign in Spain, part 2: Reviews of the St. Louis Symphony's Spanish tour

David Robertson
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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.

Reviews have been hard to find. My wife, who can read and speak Spanish and is also more canny about Google searches than I am, has only managed to turn up two so far. I included a link to the first one—a largely negative review of the orchestra's first Spanish tour concert in Valencia on February 8th—in a previous blog post.

Since then, a review has surfaced of the orchestra's performance in Oviedo (the last stop on their tour) of the same program presented at their first stop in Valencia. It's the America-themed evening featuring music by John Adams, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Dvorak. I liked it a lot when I heard it here in January and it appears Aurelio M. Seco, writing for the classical music web site, agrees.

You can read the full review at the codalario web site but the bottom line is that Mr. Seco's view is very positive and strikingly similar to my own in many ways.

He praises Maestro Robertson for his "remarkable talent on the stage and his evident communicative gift" and violin soloist Gil Shaham for his "beautiful, clear sound."  He also comments on the close communication between Mr. Shaham and Mr. Robertson, something I noted in my own review.

His view of the music itself is a bit more mixed. He finds John Adams's The Chairman Dances, Foxtrot for Orchestra interesting but a bit too repetitious to sustain interest and repeats some of the usual criticisms of the structural weaknesses of Dvorak's "New World" symphony. He's very taken with Korngold's Violin Concerto, though, because of its "attractive aesthetic, cinematographic nature, and rich expressive moments."

In any case, he had great things to say about the St. Louis Symphony's playing and Mr. Robertson's conducting, which is a nice change from the Valencia review. And, unlike the Valencia critic, he didn't feel compelled to make snarky comments about Mr. Robertson's Spanish pronunciation.

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

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