When it comes to the opening concert of the Bucharest ‘George Enescu’ Philharmonic season I remember the participation of this first Romanian musical symphonic institution within ‘George Enescu’ International Festival, the 20th edition, which has ended recently. At that time, on the 10th of September 2011, in the Palace Hall I listened to a vocal-symphonic concert where, compared to other great orchestras of the world, the Romanian artists – conducted by the famous musician Gennady Rozhdestvensky – have performed at a very high artistical level. The oratory ‘Ivan the Terrible’ (adapted by Alexander Stasevich) has remained in my memory as a landmark of interpretation.

At the opening concert of the new ‘George Enescu’ Philharmonic season at the Romanian Athenaeum on the 6th of October 2011, the Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Camil Marinescu performed ‘Symphony no. 9 in D major’ by Gustav Mahler. A gigantic symphony from all points of view. The four parts, Andante comodo, Im Tempo eines gemachlichen Landlers, Etwas tappisch und sehr derb, Rondo-Burleske, Allegro assai. Sehr trotzig and Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zuruckhaltend, unfolded over an approximately total duration of 85 minutes. I witnessed an impressive concert, of a perfect artistical presence. Conductor Camil Marinescu, along with the huge orchestral apparatus, managed to convey to the audience in the Athenaeum Hall, the dramatism of this highly deep music. And the auditory echoed this feeling that we all experience in the present times of crisis, when even the Earth shakes. The artists made an impression right from the beginning by their seriousness of tackling upon such a complex opus. An overwhelming force was felt in the hall, generated by the sonorous canvas released by the orchestra, capturing the most profound layers of the unconscious.

The andante comodo, this exceptional page of Mahler’s creation, indeed benefited by an exacerbated emotional power, as a matter of fact, a peculiarity of the Austrian composer’s style. The chimes in the beginning of the symphony made you go through frames of mind of a high rigidity. You could see before your eyes a funeral convoy. Those sounds conveyed by the tuba in a low tone, gave you a thrill, without any possibility of oposing, they would smash all your cynical armour gathered after the walks outside the temple of music.

The firm entrances of the second violins, the huge dynamic contrasts were very skillfully accomplished, and the feelings of the moment authentically reflected the musical meanings. They were succeeding in a lot of antagonistic moods: tenderness, anger, hope, dispair. The first movement coda of the symphony was magnificently brought about, where the replay of the initial musical idea unfolded without any trace of struggle, with quiet sonorities, diminished somewhere in the acute register, like the second before a final separation, when we say goodbye. In the second part of the work, the woodwind managed to suggest the beauty of the rural scenery where the hero seems to return fugaciously. The music of the landler sounded apparently innocent. And still the irony reappeared due to the acid timbre combinations and the modulations denying any intention of stating naivety.

In the third part of the symphony, the atmosphere totally changed. The interrogative releases of the trumpets seemed real volcanic erruptions. The audience could also notice the wonderful interventions of the bass fiddles with their descendent scales and those of the harps with their velvety glissando. The viola solo was of a great expressiveness, with a really quality warm timbre, in a fully coherent statement. The following march emphasised the impression of extremely agitated movement. A ghoulish fortissimo dance concluded this part. The end of Sympnony no. 9, Adagio, in its sluggishness, announced the resignation by its D flat major bleak tonality. The debut of the movement sounded wonderful, where the first violins with their solemn string excelled in homogenity in a heart rending tension. You could feel the will of bringing a homage to life and love before death. The sonorous heights at the end of the first part of the work returned insistently. The consonant harmonies prevailed, and the music unfolded in an immaterial pianissimo. An obsessive musical motif was passing by all the symphonic orchestra compartments like in a puzzle. Outlining a vast space appeared vaguely contoured, due to the interwining of the string sounds which played softly, in their extreme registers – the first violins and the bass fiddles. The horns, with the colour of their sounds brought about a state of floating into light.

The symphonic orchestra of the Bucharest ‘George Enescu’ Philharmonic, conducted by Camil Marinescu, ended the symphony successfully. The sonorous disintegration in the last page of Mahler’s scores left the audience for minutes on end in a pious, purifying, magnificent silence. The the generous applause and cheers resounded. The conductor pronounced a few warm words to thank the member of this excellent orchestra.


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