Dima Slobodeniouk Debuts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood

11/08/2018

Tanglewood [4] – Borodin, Wieniawski, Prokofiev: Joshua Bell (violin), Boston Symphony Orchestra / Dima Slobodeniouk (conductor), Koussevitzky Music Shed, Lenox, 5.8.2018. (RP)

Dima Slobodeniouk (conductor), Joshua Bell (violin) & BSO © Hilary Scott

Borodin – Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor

Wieniawski – Violin Concerto No.2 in D minor Op.22

Prokofiev – Symphony No.5 in B-flat major Op.100

The quintessential Tanglewood experience is sitting on the lawn listening to the world’s finest musicians perform on the stage of the Koussevitzky Music Shed. This being a particularly hot afternoon, few braved the heat to sit in the direct sun; a spot in the shade was far more coveted than a proper seat in the Shed. People came early and stayed late, enjoying picnics on the lawn. Some are rather elaborate affairs: clearly, dining al fresco has been elevated into a competitive sport at Tanglewood. Sipping wine also features heavily.

Dima Slobodeniouk was making his Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood debuts in this concert. The Moscow-born conductor studied in Finland and is on the brink of what portends to be a global career. In addition to serving as principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Finland, he is also music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in Spain, and is increasingly in demand as a guest conductor.

The program tilted towards the music of Slobodeniouk’s homeland, starting with Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor. A chemist by profession, Borodin composed on the side. Although he never finished the opera, the dances have melodies so enchanting that who can fault anyone for humming along to them. Slobodeniouk led a high-spirited performance in which the melodies cast their spell, while the BSO did the rest, reveling in Borodin’s brilliant orchestration.

The Russian spirit prevailed with Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No.2 in D minor; the composer was born in Poland and studied in France, but he lived in St. Petersburg for 12 years. It was there that the ever-popular Second Violin Concerto premiered in 1862 with Anton Rubinstein on the podium and the composer as soloist. On this occasion, that honor fell to American violinist Joshua Bell, an audience favorite, whose name was on the lips of almost everyone in the audience. He has appeared annually at Tanglewood since his 1989 debut and did not disappoint.

Bell has a penchant for the war horses of the repertoire and his sweet tone and highly personalized style of phrasing are perfect for a Romantic showpiece like the Wieniawski concerto. The beautiful melody of the second movement sang, while the third movement, marked ‘in the gypsy style’, was full of brilliant playing and pyrotechnical thrills, performed with pinpoint accuracy, dramatic intensity and consummate taste.

For an encore, Bell played a selection from the Oscar-winning soundtrack of The Red Violin by John Corigliano. Beautiful melodies played by one of the great violinists of our day are always welcome, especially on a lazy summer afternoon.

The final work on the program was Prokofiev’s Symphony No.5. Michael Steinberg’s program notes detailed a fascinating connection between the work and Boston. Serge Koussevitzky had long championed Prokofiev’s music in Europe and later in America, conducting the BSO in the premiere of the Fourth Symphony in 1930. Although Koussevitzky never returned to Russia after the Revolution, he was aware of the hardships that artists faced there and arranged for music paper to be shipped to the Soviet Composer’s Union. The score of the Fifth Symphony, which is now in the Boston Public Library, was written on paper that had been sent from Boston under his auspices.

In No.5, Prokofiev wrote that he ‘wanted to sing the praises of the free and happy man’. Slobodeniouk drew out the heroic elements of the work; the blazing coda of the first movement and the climax in the middle of the third movement were thrilling. There were dazzling performances from the woodwinds, brass and percussion. With the BSO, no matter how massive the sound or how brisk the tempos, the details are always there. Slobodeniouk relaxed a bit in the slow movement before unleashing the full force of the orchestra in the triumphant frenzy of the finale.

My hunch is that after this impressive debut, Slobodeniouk will again grace the stage at Tanglewood.

Rick Perdian

For more information on the 2018 Tanglewood season, click here.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! City Music Foundation July 2019 Summer Residency at The Wallace Collection __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River 2019 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Adrian Partington Introduces the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Conversation with John Quinn __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • NEW! MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month