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With Thielemann at the top

With Thielemann at the top

He shouted again: Christian Tillmann © OFS / M. Kreutziger

The program of the second orchestral concert at the Salzburg Easter Festival could not be more contrasted.

While Strauss painted from Kamil in “Burgettor in Klang” (Mountain Tour in Sounds) in the middle of his life, this was his last work with Bartok. This viola concerto has a very well-rounded effect and is fairly short at 23 minutes. The three movements, played with uninterrupted masterful transitions, found an almost perfect translation in Antoine Tamstettet (42).

Even the beginning with extended solos was so confidently “presented” by the rather slender and sensitive Frenchman that the audience followed the “farewell act” with great focus.

The instrumentalist solo from 1672 is the first work of Stradivari, who extrapolated the aspherical sounds of the Tamestit in the higher bands. Thielemann paired nicely with the extra-large Staatskapelle, which is sometimes damped by a subtle hand signal.

The summit remains the same but the road…

There is hardly a piece more familiar to the Dresden Orchestra – also dedicated to him – than the “Alpine Symphony”. The top is always the same, but the path… and that makes each performance new over and over again.

Certainly there are smarter and more innovative orchestras in terms of instrument technology. But this collective vocal quality of individual syllables, joint breathing, and almost blind comprehension with conductor cannot be described in words.

The “language” of Strauss, who rehearsed hundreds of evenings at Semperoper, is almost innate in Staatskapelle Dresden musicians. Then silence each reference’s “cheats” and make room for the pure “audio” experience. Kind of a movie audio as a great outdoor companion. Despite all the gusts and thunderstorms in this colossal score with wind instruments, drumming, and booming organs, this time it was the quiet, intimate sections—”lovedly designed” by Tillman in facial expressions and gestures—that were poignant.

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Needless to say, the jubilation, including standing and clapping, almost reached Karajan’s proportions. The orchestra had long since left when Thielman was still clapping on stage.