The class intrinsic OSM

Photo: Peter Rigaud
The pianist Yevgeny Sudbin will be in recital this Thursday evening at the Maison symphonique.

The musicians of the OSM recalcitrant had received salary for not coming to play in February 2016, under the direction of Charles Dutoit. One could imagine in the same vein as a risk premium (of music) be granted for their participation at the evening circus was organized this week.


How Conrad van Alphen, conductor unknown, without a state of commendable services, he was judged worthy to be found in front of such an elite orchestra for a session gesticulatoire of two hours ? Lucien Bouchard, chairman of the Board of directors of the OSM, present, and therefore, this time, a direct witness of the thing, may be the answer, or at least conduct a small survey…


Concert Rachmaninoff. Ideal on paper. Very long and cumbersome also, in practice, for an evening of recovery Tuesday from the beginning of the year. Because even if Conrad van Alphen spare us the resumption of the 1st movement of the 2nd Symphony, the concert takes us to 22: 30. Superfluous, but beautiful, the 1st Trio élégiaque, if beautifully cantabile, off alas on the cough, while Andrew Wan, Andrew Manker and Philip Chiu had made a decrescendo poignant.


The orchestral starts with the 2nd Concerto, level repetition (and again !) between a soloist and a leader that have nothing to say (the phrasing at the piano and the orchestra are often not the same). It surprises Yevgeny Sudbin seeking eyes, the head in quest of cohesion, so that it is the latter who should watch it. Sudbin is elsewhere. What does it do ? A Rachmaninov legacy of Zoltán Kocsis, full of foucades, where a poco piu mosso (a little faster) turn in a lurching. But Alphen does not know of these impulses, so beautifully relayed by Oramo in the recording Bis forthcoming. It seems then that Sudbin wants to shorten the experience. Feels it still in winter break or so insecure by his “partner” to the point of calling the score for a work that he comes to save ? It is in the recital this Thursday evening (do not miss) that it will be necessary to judge the shape of this pianist who has disappointed on Tuesday, in comparison of the excellent Volodin here even in October.


Cursed to the OSM (the last experiment, with Yan Pascal Tortelier, was soundly) the 2nd Symphony is conducted to port by the class intrinsic to the MSO and its great 1st violin, Andrew Wan. When the Vienna Philharmonic plays in spite of a head, this is seen like the nose in the middle of a figure. At the OSM, you do not doubt of nothing : Andrew Wan and his colleagues take to the store with elegance and discretion that command respect.


The music of Rachmaninoff is so beautiful that she supports everything, or nearly everything. We would not attempt interpretation here. We do not ask why a bellows of timbale running at mezzo forte in the score leads to a fortissimo, why these attacks brass plastronnent while Rachmaninov indicates mezzo forte, or what does it mean to dolce in this composer. These issues, real leaders (Sanderling, Svetlanov, Gauk, Ormandy, etc) have put on the table, since the recording of Sokoloff in 1928.


Which is really annoying, this is what we see : an individual on a podium who forgets suddenly his right hand (the one that is expected to beat the able) to take time exposures. It is quite special. On the technical side, Conrad van Alphen — helped by Wan and its peer — to-peer, which has fortunately managed to maintain the overall cohesion in the absence of equilibrium polyphonic, shows a singular conception of the direction of the orchestra.


The OSM, who brilliantly survived the treatment, will probably get the Spaniard Juanjo Mena, the next week, with an intense feeling of relief.

Sudbin played the 2nd Concerto of Rachmaninov

Rachmaninov : elegiac Trio, piano Concerto no. 2, Symphony no. 2. Andrew Wan, Andrew Manker and Philip Chiu (Trio), Yevgeny Sudbin (piano), Montreal symphony Orchestra, Conrad van Alphen. Maison symphonique de Montréal, on Tuesday 9 January. Recovery Saturday. Recital with Yevgeny Sudbin this Thursday evening.