Ez történt


2002. 01. 01.

INGRID FLITER performed for the second time in Budapest. ZOLTÁN KOCSIS, who discovered this young pianist for Hungarian audiences while a member of the jury of an international competition (Bolzano, 1998), had already invited the 28 year old Argentinean in February 2000 to perform the Prokofiev 3rd Concerto (in C major) with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. After this essay in ironic, stark 20th century music, she returned to show herself in the romantic world, playing Chopin's F minor concerto (I was unable to be present at the concert, and my report is based upon the live recording).
Here again, she demonstrated her immaculate technique and virtuosic pianism: in her interpretation, particularly in the two outer movements, she revealed their true elegance. Ingrid Fliter understands how to fill rhythm with tension, and this gives poise and dignity to the music (this ability was particularly advantageous in the bubbling, fiery dance music of the finale) – but the natural rubato eloquence of the Largetto's night monologue is equally part of her musical personality. Her pianism is rich in colour, her touch flexible, but her basic sonority is that of a graceful, metallic reverberance – naturally, this led to her being more at home in the two outer movements than in the slow central. We heard a world class performance, but I would still not argue with those who feel that in the encore (a solo piece filled with barbaric energy by her compatriot, Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)) Ingrid Fliter is progressing down a unique path of her own. They say that Martha Argerich one of her supporters – well, beyond just her superb instrumental ability and her rare musical sensitivity, she is truly reminiscent of her great colleague in the way  we can detect traces in her of that autonomous independence that is characteristic of the finest.
Audiences have become accustomed to Zoltán Kocsis' inventive National Philharmonic programs. The piano concerto was framed by two symphonic creations which in many ways, rhymed with each other. Both Haydn's 97th and Mozart's K 551 symphony are in C major, and both compositions represent a period of development in the genre, in which the classical symphony became representative music, demanding the wide space of large concert halls. Both works were written at around the same time, Mozart's Jupiter composed in summer 1788, while the Haydn C major was completed towards the end of his first London trip, and was first performed publicly in May 1792. After so many parallels, it is no wonder that the critic also believes he has found related features between the two performances. Kocsis interpreted both works in a dramatic vein (in the sense that the music is interpreted as stage action). Within this, in both compositions, in the outer movements (particularly in the finales), he gave prominence to bubbling virtuosic playing, and with the exception of the slow movements, all the other movements in both performances were characterised by taut musical rhythms. Both resulted in spectacular results, but the forced volume often drew attention to the crudity of the orchestra's sonority. At times we had the feeling that we were storming past things of beauty  which would have been more worthwhile inspecting at greater peace. (11th November 11. – Music Academy. Organiser: National Philharmonic Orchestra)

LEONIDAS KAVAKOS has been an acquaintance of Budapest for a decade: in recent years he has visited the concert halls of the Hungarian capital on numerous occasions and demonstrated his craft in a multiplicity of works. One motif has linked all his performances: it is clear that the Athenian violinist, – although a true virtuoso – is one of the profound variety. His scholarly and disciplined being belongs not to Paganini but to masterpieces demanding an intellectual presence such as Bartók's youthful violin concerto or Berg's concerto (we have heard him play both these in Budapest). His latest visit also fitted into this strain of seriousness: this time he played Brahm's D major concerto (op. 77) on his 1692 Stradivarius.
 I must confess that when hearing the opening movement, for a while I felt Kavakos' playing was exaggeratedly restrained and introverted. But as the warmth of the melodies became apparent, the music making became communicative and from this moment, we heard a performance, every motif of which – music and technique alike – a critic can only give the greatest acknowledgement. The immense Brahms concerto is a rich composition, and the characters within it are highly varied: the soloist must play not only graceful melodies but also give vent to heavy, powerful instrumental gestures. It is not just a question of chamber music like questions and answers, the violinist must push forward his own personality, and demonstrate his susceptibility to feeling and emotion. This was the case with Kavakos. Under his bow, the Allegro non troppo unfolded before us as a well rounded portrait of a multi-dimensional artist. This was joined by the intimate lyricism of the Adagio, and in the rondo finale, for a few moments, there were flashes of humour.
Just as with the Fliter concert, this NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC concert placed two related symphonic creations around the concerto – at least, so far as the time of composition, harmony and frequency of play is concerned. Only five years separate Richard Strauss's Macbeth (1890) and Rachmaninov's First Symphony (1895); in terms of harmony, both represent the endeavours of fin-de-siecle late romanticism – and since their premieres, neither works could possibly be described as having won popularity. ZOLTÁN KOCSIS' conducting stressed the related features of expression of both works: the orchestra's performance showed how the two works are not just severe in their characters, but both equally are drawn towards powerful and in places, lumpen acoustic effects. To be perfectly honest, in Macbeth, I frequently felt that what I was hearing was too much: disproportioned, crude and over directed. It did not succeed in showing the richness of the new orchestra's sound, but rather, underlined how ugly it still can sound.
On the other hand, Kocsis presented a convincing argument for the Rachmaninov symphony. He did not hide this early work's exaggerations, or its occasional banality, sentimentality and anaemic thematic material – nonetheless, for some obscure reason (perhaps it was the conductor's complete hundred percent identification with the work), the performance succeeded in showing the composer's unfairly neglected early work to be, even in its contradictions, attractive and worthwhile music. (26th of November – Music Academy. Organised by the National Philharmonic Orchestra)

Kristóf Csengery
(Muzsika,  January 2002.)