Friday, April 19, 2013

Augustin Hadelich with Blomstedt, SFS

So, two things you need to know about this week's SFS program, which I attended on Wednesday:
  • Alone of all attendees, I hated the Beethoven violin concerto.
  • The Nielsen 5 was absolutely fantastic and worth the price of admission. (Everyone agrees with this.)
Why did I hate the Beethoven? It was deadly dull, boring as hell. Beethoven should never be boring! It was pure moderato, everything well-behaved and in place, without any vigor or inner muscularity at all.  

Joshua Kosman writes that "Blomstedt and the orchestra were oddly tentative," so presumably that's what he heard. He also noted balance issues at the start. Hmm. The balances were fine from where I sat, two rows behind and five seats to the left of Joshua. As for Augustin Hadelich, eh. He also put me to sleep, and unlike JK, I heard intermittent intonation issues.

Meanwhile, David Bratman also heard energy problems; sitting closer than me, he has an interesting take on Hadelich's sound qua sound. We were at the same concert. 

Other commentary:


john_burke100 said...

If there's one composer who needs to be played with muscularity--even in his lyrical moments, maybe especially in his lyrical moments--it's LvB.

Lisa Hirsch said...


David Bratman said...

Your comments after the concert in fact crystallized for me the realization that the Concerto was what I've elsewhere called a "Blomstedt Special," a performance that begins well but leaks into flaccidity by the end. There was muscularity, if not of the ideal sort, in the first movement, but it was all gone after that.

Blomstedt's approach to the Nielsen, problems and all, was identical to the last time I heard him lead this work, seven years ago, and with the same result.

Lisa Hirsch said...


I think the last time I heard Blomstedt was in 2004, doing Schubert 5 and Brahms 4. the Brahms was great and the Schubert kinda disappeared under its weight.

Did he do Blomstedt Specials when he was MD here too?

David Bratman said...

Are you kidding? They were a regular feature of his early days here. He seemed to get better as he went along, to the point that by the time he left, I considered him pretty trustworthy. When he is on, he is very on: his Eroica the previous week was pure dynamite. But he keeps having occasional relapses, which is dismaying.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Not kidding at all. I probably went to SFS 3 times when Blomstedt was MD and have absolutely no memory of what he was like as a conductor.