On the stages that host large shows, slogans engraved like a phylactery or frieze in their architecture are often repeated. It is a way of recognizing those who gather there; a way of doing tribe, group filiation. The Lyceum of Barcelona, more specifically the Hall of MirrorsIt preserves the original romantic decoration from 1847, and on the shelf phrases – in Spanish – related to the muses of music and theater. It was said, halfway between reality and legend, that in the bullring of The Maestranza from Sevilla There was a motto written on the entrance that served as an admonition to visitors: Entry forbidden to those who do not know geometry.
It is a ritual that has been maintained since 1939
At Musikverein from Vienna, in its Golden Room, there is a phrase that warns that this is the site of the music friends (Society of music lovers); those who had the intelligence not to disdain popular compositions, full of repetitive chords, marches, and simple arguments. But nice music at last. They went even further: they elevated it to a national symbol. It is a ritual that has been maintained since 1939 that in tune with the dawn of the year fragments of Viennese operetta, marches, polkas, waltzes are heard in this cathedral of music. Too bad that in Spain our small genre, the zarzuela, fades into oblivion like a sugar cube in a glass of hot water.
Daniel barenboim He has been on stage for seventy years. Yesterday he was facing his third address from the New Year’s Concert at Musikverein from One. Shape Barenboim part of that quintet of teachers who called themselves Jewish music mob: Itzhah Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zukerman, Jacqueline du Pré —The extraordinary cellist who was his wife— and himself. TO Barenboim You can forgive a lot of things on the music stand. For example, the apparent reluctance in the physical address of some numbers in the repertoire. The director is an excellent musician. His piano performances of Chopin They are at the peak of understanding the work of the Polish composer. Reluctance.
But also musical talent, which emerged from time to time, in some pieces. As for example in driving the Harmony of the spheres, from Josef Strauss, the brother of Johann son; the son of Johann dad. Josef Strauss he was a mediocre composer, without possible comparison with his brother Johann, but sometimes it was spot on. It is the case of Harmony of the spheresA composition that begins in an unusual way, introducing a bit of logical-mathematical compression to what later develops as a waltz.
It was a beginning of sought after symbolism, but also cold
Yesterday wanted to vindicate Barenboim a Josef Strauss. Harmony it is his best work. Play the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra four pieces of Josef, among them the Phoenix March, at the beginning of the concert. It was a beginning of sought-after symbolism, but also cold. The Argentine, Israeli, Spanish and Palestinian teacher – who are such nationalities – will be eighty years old this November. On the 31st he finished his concert prior to this New Years Concert at 10:15 p.m. And with the same repertoire. Much whiplash.
The beginning, I say, was intended to be symbolic. The phoenix rising from its ashes. Like humanity after the bloody pandemic. To Phoenix March the waltz followed Wings of the phoenix, is of Johann son. More symbolic load. Afterwards, a tribute to the press, to the Press Club Concordia —More than one hundred and sixty years behind him—, with Morning Diary, by Johann Strauss son and Little chronicle, from Eduard Strauss, the third stem of Johann dad; another mediocre composer Eduard raised to memory by these splendid rituals. With this quick polka the first part of the concert ended; nothing new in the history of this celebration. Elegant but absent director at times. A toneless audience – about a thousand people out of the seventeen hundred of the capacity: are those Austrian restrictions? – and the rapid passage of time without leaving a trace.
The second part began with a main course. Well, let’s clarify the expression. There is no need to speak of strong plates, musically speaking, in this collection of marches, polkas and waltzes. Or operettas. But it’s always nice to hear the overture of The bat, well-known and popular operetta, the work of Johann Strauss son. In the ears of the stipes that decorate the Golden Room memorable performances such as those of Herbert von Karajan —1987: available on the web— and from Carlos Kleibert. It is a classic in the Concert repertoire since it began its journey. Personally – and let me digress – it struck me years ago when Gavino, The main character of the movie Master father, a child secluded in the mountains by his tyrannical father to make him forget his eagerness to learn, he regains his desire when he hears her playing two accordions. Yesterday was good. Fluid Correct But it seemed that the orchestra evolved with apprehended automatisms. Spark was missing.
Even the Champagne polka, from Johann son, it was devoid of bubbling itchiness. So the second part passed. Everything according to the rules. Nothing extraordinary.
In a celebration like this, with music that provides few experiments, the personality of the director is evidenced in the choice of the repertoire or with the particular phrasing and rubato imposed on the orchestra: I mean, in the slowing down or acceleration of the weather that is printed to the notes or to a specific passage. On this occasion, and it is hard to say, the overwhelming personality of Daniel barenboim perhaps it arose in the delay in cutting the first notes of En el bello Blue Danube, from Johann Strauss hijo, to congratulate the New Year, and in the lengthy speech wishing prosperity in 2022.
No one doubts at this point the musical talent of the teacher. Only yesterday it came out in a trickle.
Now there is a new springboard and there is no snow
For a long time, the beginning of the year was associated with a triple celebration: mass from the spectacular basilica of San Pedro; the New Year’s Concert from One and the ski jumps of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Since Paquito won gold in Sapporo, In 1972, it was a tradition to broadcast by TVE of the jumps. It was nice to see the snowy picture of the Bavarian city and the old trampoline, a relic of the 1936 Olympics. Innsbruck. Spanish television has stopped broadcasting it. Now there is a new springboard and there is no snow. Everything has changed. Nothing is the same. Only the memory remains.
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