Connecting artists, managers and presenters worldwide ™

Musical World

Riccardo Chailly

  • Conductor


Riccardo Chailly reviews

Bold Sounds on a Big Scale By BERNARD HOLLAND, The New York Times Extravagance in orchestra playing often, but not always, describes happenings on a big scale. Carnegie Hall was filled with such memorable uproars when the Filarmonica della Scala played Wagner and Respighi on Saturday night, but other kinds of extremes were also remembered: a string resonance that had stage floorboards vibrating and also some beautifully controlled wind solos at the quietest of levels. Riccardo Chailly conducted the orchestra on the last leg of a North American tour. Italy is not known for world-class symphony orchestras, so it is paradoxical that the country’s best — and the Filarmonica is certainly that — spends its quality time unseen and partially obscured in the pit of an opera house. The first half of the evening found the players in tender support of the Canadian tenor Ben Heppner or in furious competition with him. After a brilliant, light-filled race through Wagner’s Prelude to Act III of “Lohengrin,” Mr. Heppner appeared for the five “Wesendonk Lieder” and after noticeable effort gradually sang himself into voice, finally finding a comfort level in the magical “Träume.” For Siegmund’s big tenor sequence from Act I of “Die Walküre” he was in full roar and fully equipped to match the extraordinary outbursts from the brass sections behind him. After intermission came Respighi’s twin tributes to another Italian city: “The Fountains of Rome” and “The Pines of Rome.” The latter is an exceptional example of music as theater, or perhaps theater as music. The delicate orchestration is highly attractive. Even the twittering birds do not seem excessive. But it is the way Respighi builds climaxes that I so admire. What results is pure entertainment, unerring in the pace at which it withholds pleasurable expectations and then gradually delivers them. In other situations, I have heard Mr. Chailly as a more sober and reflective musician. On Saturday he seemed happy to let his orchestra players be themselves.