Hailstorm Drenches Listeners and Affects Shaham’s Intonation


Dvořák, Prokofiev:  Gil Shaham (violin), Chiara Enderle (cello),Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich / Lionel Bringuier (conductor),  Tonhalle, Zurich 2.6.2017. (JR)

Gil Shaham (c) C Micros Kulturprozent Classics

Gil Shaham (c) C Micros Kulturprozent Classics

DvořákWaldesruhe for cello and orchestra Op.68; Symphony No.9 Op.95 (From the New World)
Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No.2  Op.63

The capricious late spring weather played a not insignificant part in this concert: a hot humid day was followed by a torrential downpour and hailstorm during the concert, which could be heard as it battered the roof. The Tonhalle is due to be closed for three years, as of next month, for major surgery; the roof sprang an audible leak during the first half of the concert, causing listeners in the gallery to move seats and orchestra members to cast their eyes with concern to the heavens. The humidity in the hall also caused intonation problems for Gil Shaham and he had to re-tune his instrument after the first movement. The creaking air-conditioning in the hall (the environmentally-friendly Swiss prefer to call it air cooling) gave up the struggle and we started to swelter. Hopefully conditions in the new hall will be better.

The concert was sponsored by Migros Kulturprozent Classics, who usually bring visiting orchestras to town, but this time it was the “home” orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra, the sponsorship enabling them to travel round Switzerland – surprisingly, a rare event.

The orchestra looked relaxed and relieved that they have now found a worthy successor to David Zinman and Lionel Bringuier as new Chief Conductor, namely Paavo Järvi. No hard feelings I am sure between Bringuier and the orchestra; Bringuier will certainly go on to lead a top-flight orchestra before too long.

The sponsors take it as one of their chief aims, to promote young Swiss talent and this concert was the turn of 25-year old Chiara Enderle on cello. She opened the concert with Dvořák’s Waldesruhe, translated as Silent Woods. It is a lyrical and dreamy piece, evoking Bohemian woodland but not much else. Enderle, with eyes often closed, swayed gently to the rhythm of the piece. Enderle won the International Lutoslawski Cello Competition a few years ago and the Pierre Fournier Award in London; she also has a Wigmore Hall chamber music recital under her belt. She has clear musical talent and interpretative maturity beyond her years; she was however not quite loud enough and the piece, without pyrotechnics of any sort, was, I have to say, a mite dull.

Enderle was, of course, over-shadowed by the endearing Gil Shaham, who oozes style and bonhomie. Beaming throughout, he made the tricky Prokokiev concerto sound as easy as pie.

Shaham has a long history with this piece, playing it first when he was 13, having learned it from a score with fingerings by David Oistrakh. This is easily digestible Prokofiev, written around the same time as his Romeo and Juliet. We marvelled at Shaham’s fingerwork, enjoyed the castanets in the Finale and looked forward to an encore of some dazzle. To our surprise, but to everyone’s delight, he re-appeared with Chiara Enderle and played a duet – some gentle Bach.

Bringuier then gave us an electrifying account of the New World, expunging memories of Zinman and Jiří Bělohlávek in the same hall a few seasons ago. My thoughts did stray at times to the memory of Bělohlávek, who died two days earlier.

A beefier orchestra might have made more impact, but Bringuier’s interpretation was faultless. The horns had a good night, the principal trumpeter less so. The Largo was not sentimental (wonderful playing by Martin Frutiger on cor anglais); the Finale was taken fast and never cloyed.

We enjoyed an interesting encore too: not unexpectedly a Slavonic Dance, but a movement from Dvořák’s Czech Suite.

John Rhodes

Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Saffron Opera Completes its Ring with Götterdämmerung __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More __________________________________
  • NEW! Summer Music in Cincinnati 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company – 2017 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Culture and the Coast: Garsington’s Opera for All and Forthcoming Opera Screenings __________________________________
  • NEW! 2017 BBC Proms from Friday 14 July – Saturday 9 September __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! Grenfell Tower Benefit Concert on 17 September at Cadogan Hall __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • NEW! A Riveting Kokoschka’s Doll from Sir John Tomlinson and Counterpoise __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Theatre Dares You to Engage with This Show __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! CATRIONA MORISON WINS BBC CARDIFF SINGER OF THE WORLD 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Announces New Chief Conductor __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H