Jessica Duchen's Classical Music & Ballet Blog. Novelist/journalist JD writes for The Independent, London
A pity! But it's no wonder he's in such demand as he's the only living conductor, as far as I'm concerned, who's worth mentioning in the same breath as Sir Georg Solti.Also, Karajan got away with far worse: he never expressed the least regret for what his people had done and, furthermore, a fact which Richard Osborne's bio skates over at full speed, he celebrated the Fall of Paris by conducting 'Tristan' at the Paris Opera and giving concerts there.
Granted that Stormin' Norman can be somewhat fact-challenged (i.e. Salonen is still music director in Los Angeles, he's not ex Music Director just yet), he does have a point about Gergiev spreading himself thin outside the Mariinsky. However, the LSO should have known this was coming, as Andrew Clark pointed out in a 2005 article in the Financial Times (don't know if you saw it, here, where some prophetic tidbits include:"His relationship with the LSO will be concentrated rather than intensive. The orchestra will be lucky to see more than eight weeks of Gergiev each year in London....Any organisation that works with Gergiev must recognise that it will always play second fiddle to the Mariinsky, over which Gergiev wields the kind of absolute power no western arts company would countenance. For the foreseeable future, while the Mariinsky's redevelopment is pushed through, St Petersburg is likely to occupy more and more of his time.....Just how far Gergiev can develop the orchestra artistically remains to be seen."So maybe the LSO should be looking ahead to the day when they elect a new principal conductor. Perhaps that's why they've given Daniel Harding so many dates on their schedule, from what I can tell.Oh, just as a sidebar, from your "pick of the Proms" list, I did actually make it to one on your list, ironically enough, Gergiev's LSO Prom of The Sleeping Beauty (the whole of it, 3+ hours).
Yes...I was optimistic at first and thought Gergiev would be a great thing for London - and to some extent, he is. The audiences pack the place out and the man's charisma and inspiration are really incredible. But many great things can turn out to be exceedingly complicated and this is no exception.I don't believe, personally, that Harding would be quite the right choice for principal conductor, at least not yet and certainly not right after VG. They would need someone who has already attained assured world-class stature, but who is, well, there.
As usual, you were ahead of Norman in drawing attention to Gergiev's dubious associates, and to the Jerusalem concert in particular.Norman's list of émigré composers who could have been included is a good one. My particular hero is Goldschmidt because I met him twice. He showed very little bitterness at the direction his career had been forced to take in exile, and was simply pleased that his music was at last being played and appreciated while he was still around.I had a momentary rush of hope when I saw Korngold's name on the LSO posters, but it's Znaider and the violin concerto again; a great combination, of course, but didn't Jurowski and the LPO cover that one last year? Gergiev might have chosen a different work - though after disliking some of his performances of Mahler symphonies, I do wonder if he has the necessary Viennese style.
On this side of the pond, I agree with you about Daniel Harding, having seen him once live in concert. He has the talent for down the line, but I don't think he's ready to take on the job of principal conductor of the LSO anytime soon. No idea how he's doing with his Swedish orchestra.BTW, just found another article by Andrew Clark, on "My Lunch with Valery", more or less. Fortunately, AC is not a totally sycophantic and uncritical admirer, in his articles. I guess the old joke about looking for a music director/principal conductor is that you start the moment you've just hired the most recent one. One wonders if the LSO is thinking that far ahead.OTOH, it must be gratifying to read that VJ and the LPO are offering competition on the London orchestral scene, though. It's so different from the US, where in any given city, there would be one orchestra, at best, and with the tanking economy, they're looking at sharply declining audiences.I also need to correct myself, going off topic, as I actually saw almost 2 concerts on your "pick of the Proms" list this summer. I did see most of Jian Wang's late night Bach Prom, but had to leave in the midst of the 3rd Cello Suite to catch the train back to my friend's place (I know, I'm a bad boy).
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