BUILDING A NEW WORLD
“One of the greatest 20th century composers – Gustav Mahler said, “I mean, write a symphony with all available means of musical expression to build a new world!” His second Symphony is a monumental and programmatic work of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Concert with Eric Ešenvalds Fanfare Karel Mark Chichon led the orchestra musicians were hand-built in the new world, which thrilled his whole heart to their uniqueness.
As the name of the opus, the concert was opened with a fanfare Eric Ešenvalds new works – very fresh, colorful music, footage of a compact (about six minutes), but pleasantly rounded whole in which The Latvian sound code in the world breath precursory framework, while touching something outside spacetime form, common to all mankind. Ešenvalds music I have always found speaks directly to the listener with its simple beauty, which felt a sincere humility and praise the Most High, no less pathos – easy and light, filling the heart and soul with positive energy throughout. Also fanfare is no exception. Ešenvalds Welcomed Orchestra new season with a score in a short time reveals a wide variety of orchestral colors and options, from a saturated string in unison through a small and playful solo wind instrument to gently lyrical melodic which penetrated up the wonderful percussion score, while easy and attractive with its wild- continuous pulse of the musical fabric reinforcements. Ešenvalds with its characteristic reverence and entering into fanfare had placed a message on the band as a whole, which is formed from the vivid personalities and are masters of their instrument playing. Chichon orchestrated fanfare, creating expressive, yet harmonious paintings with bright accents and feel the nuances.
Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony in turn (this is the second symphony the other name) was a monumental wealth. To conduct Mahler is an experience, a peculiar initiation, approaching musical maturity and self-consciousness. Mahler himself calls for many literal and specific instructions within a wide range of emotions, where weaker nerves may even be harmful. Karel Mark Chichon in the person of emotionality and temperament are intertwined with the passionate nuances of search and rational, but also with the pragmatic power distribution and the energy to bring this magnificent symphony through to its culmination in the finale. It seems every major form Chichon constructs with great care, leads the orchestra musicians carefully luster of his party and then of those clean shiny bricks in the construction of a new version of its composer-generated world. Both strings and wood and brass, and percussion sounded magnificent balanced. Special mood and contrasts gave the so-called offstage brass and percussion ensembles, which the author meticulously called for, travelled very successfully from on stage to back stage. Surprisingly, given that the concert was held without a break, and Mahler’s symphony is about one and half hours long, the time went by almost unnoticed, as did the attention of musical dynamics to relax for a moment, and keeping your eyes open were like keeping your eyes closed in the beautiful interwoven orchestral textures in display. In the third movement the sympathetic lightness and dynamic pace pleasantly reminded the conductor’s exquisite treatment of the waltz / landler, never allowing a three-four measureto become banal. While the vocal side of the second Symphony added beautiful Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Batoukova’s rendition of Mahler’s song of the 4th movement. Her deep maternal warmth and expressivity added colored orchestral performances, bright contrast to the following French horn fanfare, leading into the symphony finale. The other soloist – the American soprano Karen Slack – sparkled with a rounded, clear, but at the same time fill the sound of a voice, a genuine enjoyment of the ears giving final ensemble with Batoukova (it seems, this time very successfully managed to harmonize the singers voice deepening tonal colors) and the Latvian National Opera Chorus, the final culmination of the spoken resurrection of the idea. I found myself at the thought of comparing this performance with the one a few years ago in Riga under Andris Nelsons’ artistic leadership – at that time Nelsons’ interpretation led critics and public to question the conductor emotional resources (on the border of being burnt out) which reached a definitive interpretation of contrasts, but the performance of Karel Mark Chichon, a deep and mature emotion intertwined with strictly rational direction of directing towards to the peak of the work, allows us to see Mahler’s genius in the directly programmatic symphony of construction and does not tire the listener with neverending emotional excess. With Chichon’s interpretation the listener was allowed to breath repeatedly and at the end of the symphony after the magnificent final chords the conductor himself took an extensive pause of more than two minutes of silence to allow Mahler’s world to disappear into the sea of applause.”
Neatkriga Daily Newspaper, Lauma Mellena