My Musical November: Petrenko

My packed two weeks of musical performances began this weekend with the Bavarian Radio Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Originally scheduled to be conducted by Mariss Jansons, the evening changed character when Jansons fell ill and Vasily Petrenko picked up the baton. Just having arrived in New York to rehearse “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Met, Petrenko was making his Carnegie Hall debut. He acquitted himself well. The Overture to von Weber’s “Euryanthe” was crisp, as was the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23, with Rudolf Buchbinder the clarity-rich soloist. The program’s second half consisted of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10. I had just read Julian Barnes’s novel “The Noise of Time, about the Russian composer, and his long and tortured and sometimes craven relationship with Stalin’s regime. To the symphony, Petrenko brought razor-sharp attack. It was only the final movement, however that brought me to the edge of my seat. The sprint to the finish was thrilling.

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