Opening Concert of the National Concert Hall
“Finally, that which the Budapest concert going audience has been expecting for all these years has come to pass, and also that which we musicians have longed for too: on the evening of January 8th 2005 the first notes were heard in the National Concert Hall of the Palace of Arts. (…) One thing is for sure, those of us who participated in this evening were naturally fully aware of the importance of this moment. With this concert, a new era has begun in Budapest's music life.”
Thus writes Zoltán Kocsis, the evening's conductor, in the leaflet that accompanies this CD in which the National Philharmonic Orchestra plays Mozart's two G minor symphonies from that now famous concert. Releasing a live recording is always a risky enterprise, although Kocsis and his musicians have accepted this and they are right: it is practically without fault, and they make music at times quite frenetically and yet at every moment, inspirationally.
Two works, two elemental outpourings of passion. The youthful “little” G minor, written at the age of 17 (K. 183) is only small compared to the “great” G minor K. 550, composed in Mozart's maturity. It is nonetheless an astonishingly mature work, one of the peaks of Mozart's “Strum und Drang” period. The first movement theme, comprising of four notes, is almost Mozart's personal motto, we can hear it in the “Jupiter” symphony's colossal culminating fugue. And then the emotions are released and the movement is virtually awash with pain as well as a kind of spiteful confrontation with the world. We know that Kocsis is one of the greatest musical analysts and here too he perfectly controls the passions: in the mad rush he never allows things to slip between his hands. In both performances, it is perhaps the Andante movements which are most successful: miraculous strings, ethereal woodwind; it is rare to hear the slow movement of the late G minor symphony with such metaphysical depth. An astonishingly mixed balance characterises the entire record, pianos and fortes are heard in ideal proportion. And particularly in the minuets, there is also a permissible playfulness, a perfect rhythmic tautness, never mechanical but always sensitive because after all. it is in the end a dance. The dizzying but controlled tempo of the finale places a golden crown on this superb concert. This year began well!
(BMC Records, Total Length: 58:05)
– csont –
(Medical Tribune, December 22, 2005)