Two MomentsMay 23, 2010 at 6:05 AM | Posted in Leadership, Music | Leave a comment
Tags: Chicago Symphony, Chris Martin, Mahler, Semyon Bychkov
I have not the powers to describe the Chicago Symphony’s performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony last night. There are two moments though that I must highlight. The work begins with an opening fanfare by the first trumpet, in this case played by the great Chris Martin. Instead of the conductor signalling him to start the work, as is usual, the conductor and the well over a 100 players on stage waited, tension mounting, for the trumpet player to start when he was ready. The beginning of the work is a funeral march and it was as if the orchestra was waiting for the mourners to come round the block, into sight, before they would begin.
The second moment came at the end when the conductor, the Russian Semyon Bychkov, after leading his players to a frenzied yet perfectly in-synch finish, the audience now on their feet in an explosion of bravoes, after finally turning to face us, we now seeing that he had sweat through his clothes, stepped off the podium as if shell-shocked, his feet unsteady, shaken by what he and his players had just done.