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Musical World

Ion Marin

  • Conductor

Reviews

Ion Marin press reviews

'Als Spiel über Liebe und Glück war der opulente Abend der Münchner Philharmoniker mit dem Philharmonischen Chor, den Regensburger Domspatzen und drei Gesangssolisten (Sally Matthews, Donald Kaasch und Michael Volle) zu hören. Die Philharmonie hatte einiges an Wucht bei den "Carmina Burana" auszuhalten, aber solch klar gesetzter, trennscharfer Klang tut ihr ja gut. Und man erlebte eine der stringentesten Aufführungen dieses Werks, das bei weniger interpretatorischer Insistenz formal zu bröckeln droht.

Vorgeschoben war Tschaikowskys Ouvertüre "Romeo und Julia", gewissermaßen als Beleg über das Ränkespiel Fortunas, das zu Beginn und am Schluss von Orffs Werk so nachdrücklich und beschwörend angesprochen wird. Hier schon ließ der junge rumänisch-österreichische Dirigent Ion Marin hören, wie wichtig ihm klangliche Ausbalancierung und individuelle charakterliche Färbung der Instrumente sind. Ein Pizzikato muss wie eine plötzliche Erscheinung auftauchen und rund nachklingen, ein Holzbläserton hat sich obertonintensiv in die Streicher zu betten. All dies zelebrierte Marin fast, aber der schicksalhafte Bogen wurde stets durch diese spannungsvollen Feinheiten zusammengehalten.

Das kam dann auch Orff zugute. Es ist ja im Grunde ein holzschnitzartiges Stück; doch Marin gelang es, das Werk nie vordergründig werden zu lassen. Die Opuletz des Klangs wurde voll, ja mit elementarer Wucht ausgespielt – und blieb dennoch in sich kontrolliert.'
Reinhard Schulz, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 20 March, 2006

'With the Festival Hall out of use for its overhaul, the South Bank's resident orchestras, the Philharmonia and the London Philharmonic, have had to decamp to the adjacent Queen Elizabeth Hall for the season. While this markedly smaller venue - which has had a bit of a facelift of its own over the summer - does impose restrictions on what can be done there, the LPO has seen it less as a challenge than as an opportunity, a chance to explore a range of music for smaller orchestra it feels it cannot comfortably tackle in the 3,000-seater RFH. And, if this opening concert of its season is anything to go by, we're in for one treat of a year.

Ion Marin, replacing an indisposed Ingo Metzmacher at a late stage, conducted a programme that set classicism against neo-classicism, two Mozartian masterpieces played off against music by Stravinsky and Strauss that makes its own homage to that of earlier periods.

The Mozart comprised his 39th Symphony and 25th Piano Concerto (K503 in C), with Paul Lewis giving an account of the solo part in the latter full of sunny brilliance and jeu d'esprit, enriched by his usual integrity. There was a real sense of interplay between soloist and orchestra, especially in the case of the many wind solos that so often shape the piano writing. The concluding symphony, which, thanks to the generous length of the programme, didn't begin until after 9.30, was elegantly shaped by Marin and seemed less a superfluity than the ideal rounding-off of a well-planned evening.

That evening had begun with Stravinsky's Concerto in D for strings in a performance that bounded along with energy, the outer movements vivacious in their sprung rhythms and neatly turned Baroquisms. The central "Arioso" was suavely contoured, its strange octave-breaching melody on violins and cellos luminescent in the LPO players' hands.

Best of all, though, was the performance of Strauss's Le bourgeois gentilhomme Suite. This is a score in which everyone is a soloist and it proved a magnificent showcase for the LPO's virtuosity and character. It's rare to see orchestral musicians so evidently enjoying what they're playing, and here they were relishing every turn, every joke, every explosion of Straussian opulence.

The QEH's size means that both resident orchestras are playing their most popular programmes twice, which means you can catch this concert again tonight. Don't miss it!'
Matthew Rye, Daily Telegraph, 23 September 2005

'The Festival Hall is upgrading, so the orchestral season began in a temporary home next door. The London Philharmonic Orchestra's concert commemorated its violinist of 36 years' standing, Geoffrey Price, who has died at barely 60 (and whose offstage antics inspired a hilarious obituary). The orchestra played a programme just like the London Mozart Players used to give there a generation ago.

A solid hour of Mozart himself made up the main course, mildly spiced with a little Stravinsky, and some Richard Strauss for dessert. The playing style was a throwback too, and not just in the sense that it was innocent of period features. Encouraged by Ion Marin, the late replacement as conductor for Ingo Metzmacher, the LPO developed a chamber-like intimacy that has almost disappeared from mainstream concerts.

If that's partly down to the smaller hall, London will be in for a year of riveting concerto performances. The currently ubiquitous Paul Lewis (piano) has built his formidable reputation not so much on piano showpieces as on the more thoughtful demands of Beethoven and Schubert. Mozart's most Beethoven-like concerto, his last in C major, has a mix of grandeur and tenderness that well suited Lewis. He even chose an astute cadenza by Alfred Brendel - so like early Beethoven that it could have passed as the real thing.

When he first plays, the pianist has chances to debunk the grandeur, but Lewis rather picked up on the orchestra's smoothness with melting phrases that still respected the music's steady-paced splendour. The woodwind came into their own in some radiant dialogues with the soloist.

The suite from Strauss's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, after a less polished start, was nearly as enjoyable for the musicians' relish of its colourful, ever-changing combinations of solo instruments. Marin, with impeccable timing and infectious rhythm, encouraged finesse and just the right amount of swagger.

It does, however, rather go on. Given its nicely splashy end, the concert would have been complete without Mozart's Symphony number 39 still to come. Strangely, the decision to minimise repeats made the symphony's performance less affectionate in the outer movements, and at its best in the respectively expansive and buoyant music between them. More revealing was the Stravinsky Concerto for Strings at the start of the concert. Blink and it could almost have been by Martinu.

The Festival Hall is upgrading, so the orchestral season began in a temporary home next door. The London Philharmonic Orchestra's concert commemorated its violinist of 36 years' standing, Geoffrey Price, who has died at barely 60 (and whose offstage antics inspired a hilarious obituary). The orchestra played a programme just like the London Mozart Players used to give there a generation ago.

A solid hour of Mozart himself made up the main course, mildly spiced with a little Stravinsky, and some Richard Strauss for dessert. The playing style was a throwback too, and not just in the sense that it was innocent of period features. Encouraged by Ion Marin, the late replacement as conductor for Ingo Metzmacher, the LPO developed a chamber-like intimacy that has almost disappeared from mainstream concerts.

If that's partly down to the smaller hall, London will be in for a year of riveting concerto performances. The currently ubiquitous Paul Lewis (piano) has built his formidable reputation not so much on piano showpieces as on the more thoughtful demands of Beethoven and Schubert. Mozart's most Beethoven-like concerto, his last in C major, has a mix of grandeur and tenderness that well suited Lewis. He even chose an astute cadenza by Alfred Brendel - so like early Beethoven that it could have passed as the real thing.

When he first plays, the pianist has chances to debunk the grandeur, but Lewis rather picked up on the orchestra's smoothness with melting phrases that still respected the music's steady-paced splendour. The woodwind came into their own in some radiant dialogues with the soloist.

The suite from Strauss's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, after a less polished start, was nearly as enjoyable for the musicians' relish of its colourful, ever-changing combinations of solo instruments. Marin, with impeccable timing and infectious rhythm, encouraged finesse and just the right amount of swagger.'
Robert Maycock, Independent, 23 September 2005