Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra give their first concert in Yaroslavl

16/11/2019

Russian FederationRussian Federation Mahler: Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Sladkovsky (conductor), Yaroslavl Philharmonic Hall, 12.11.2019. (GT)

Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra in Yaroslavl (c) Ivan Andreev

Mahler – Symphony No.5

The north Russian city of Yaroslavl lies on the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl rivers and being part of the Golden Ring of ancient Russian Towns is a UNESCO world heritage site. The population is of Scandinavian/Slavic descent and it was an important town during the struggle against the Mongol hordes. It boasts many colourful old Russian churches and three universities with thriving industries, particularly in the oil sector. The first woman to go into space Valentina Tereshkova was born and brought up here. It is the birthplace of the great tenor Leonid Sobinov – the music school in the city is named after him – and a museum is in his honour. The singer is also remembered by a fine sculpture across from the Philharmonic Concert Hall. The hall has a great organ and portraits of the great composers decorate its walls and has a fine acoustic. Naturally, for this premiere visit by the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, the venue was packed by an audience full of musicians and students. The city has its own professional orchestra, which was founded in 1937, and the concert season enjoys visits by other choirs, and orchestras of the Russian Federation supported by the Ministry of Culture.

Attending the rehearsal, I was interested that – in the absence of the conductor – the orchestra themselves went through some of the passages of the symphony where they themselves thought attention should be given. This was led by the orchestra leader Alina Yakonina who in pointing out correct phrasing for the brass section, in particular, showed her responsibility as leader and principal violin. A nice touch to the beginning of the concert was the appearance of a lady on stage who introduced the performers and the symphony which was to be performed – a tradition in Russia which goes back many years when a musicologist would give a brief lecture on the music to be played.

The reading was little or no different from what I heard from the previous evening. Once more Max Anikin opened up on solo trumpet superbly – and in this smaller hall – the sudden attack by the violins seemed particularly loud with the great eruption of the funeral march. On this occasion, Sladkovsky was more demonstrative by frequently vocalising and at times almost dancing on the podium. Throughout there were terrific switches in dynamics, exciting playing, and the woodwind were eloquent with especially fine playing from the flute in the lamenting second idea. In the second movement, in the sudden ferocious strings’ attack, there was superb clarinet articulation by Artur Muchamedzhin. The adopted speed by Sladkovsky seemed to emphasise the emotional drama – a truly Russian manner – and here showing an affinity with Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov’s late romanticism. Frequently the pace and clarity, matched with discipline, approached the intensity of Mravinsky’s Leningrad orchestra.

In the Scherzo, the woodwind and brass choruses were raucous with little compensation for the small hall’s acoustics. This was immensely exciting playing; this orchestra plays as if it was their last performance – giving of their very best. In the Adagietto, the mood was from a different world – reflecting on the composer’s love for life – inwardly intense and more passionate than before. In the Rondo finale, the idiom changed and the opening from the horns, backed by the woodwind, offered hope for life where death had threatened. The final bars brought a roar of stormy applause, and a remarkable standing ovation.

The orchestra gave a superbly performed encore of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries with playing by the strings which was astonishingly precise and impassioned. For me its performance during the afternoon rehearsal was amazingly just a little bit better, this was old style Wagner – echt romantic, and I doubt if Bayreuth has heard a better performance. Finally, the evening closed to a standing ovation from all present at this unforgettable musical event.

Gregor Tassie              

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC __________________________________
  • NEW! BBC Proms turns 125 years old – 17 July to 12 September 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera North in 2020-2021 – postponements and plans __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Glyndebourne Festival Opera opens for a 2020 summer season __________________________________
  • NEW! Baritone Federico Longhi’s Rigoletto is part of Parma’s June Verdian renaissance __________________________________
  • NEW! 69th Wexford Festival Opera – 11 to 18 October 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Dresden’s Semperoper reopens with Anna Netrebko on 19 June __________________________________
  • NEW! Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal in 2020-21 __________________________________
  • NEW! LMP’s first UK chamber orchestra performances since Covid-19 struck __________________________________
  • NEW! Oxford Lieder Festival – 10-17 October 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Metropolitan Opera (2020–)2021 season update __________________________________
  • NEW! Royal Opera House announces first live concert since beginning of lockdown __________________________________
  • NEW! Semi-staged Das Rheingold on Deutsche Oper Berlin’s parking deck from 12 June __________________________________
  • NEW! A breath of fresh air: Opera Holland Park announces 2021 season __________________________________
  • NEW! Grange Park Opera’s 2020 Found Season – 4 June to 12 July __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2020 Salzburg Festival – 1 to 30 August __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival’s 2020 online series of concerts and talks __________________________________
  • The Singapore Symphony in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! We’ll be back! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra weathering the Covid-19 storm __________________________________
  • NEW! World Ballet School Day – inaugural edition 7 July 2020 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Longborough Festival Opera launches podcast and extraordinary generosity of the audience __________________________________
  • NEW! The Music Critics Association of North America Best New Opera Award to Blue __________________________________
  • NEW! Lincoln Center honors Pride with a light installation on its iconic plaza __________________________________
  • R.I.P. Dame Vera Lynn (1917-2020): Did we really need Vera Lynn during the war? __________________________________
  • NEW! What price Sherlock Holmes? __________________________________
  • NEW! BBC to show the ROH’s first post-lockdown performance and their other recent music news __________________________________
  • NEW! Woody Allen comes back fighting with a book and A Rainy Day in New York __________________________________
  • NEW! Educating Rita, says who? __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020 Three Choirs Festival – postponed __________________________________
  • NEW! ACCOMPANIST OR PARTNER? PIANIST SUSIE ALLAN IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN QUINN __________________________________
  • NEW! Need to escape reality? Enter into the magical world of composer David Hertzberg __________________________________
  • NEW! BTHVN2020 – Beethoven anniversary goes into overtime __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month