The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. State Department collected some of the blog commentary on the CSO's performances in Russia. Here are a few highlights:
"… It was fabulously beautiful. A living organism producing heavenly sounds. And music. And nothing apart from music. All my life I thought that conductors simply did it to look beautiful, but in fact it turns out that the conductor is the beating heart of this living and magical SOMETHING."
Paslen had more to say about the performances,
Nothing phenomenal or magical happened here – the Chicago orchestra was simply at ease within the framework of this particular work, playing it exactly as it should be played… What in an untidy performance can be perceived as insincere (for example, excessive flourishes in the woodwind) here was inspirational in its order and logic – thanks to the transparency of the sound the work became more clear and collected. With the CSO there were no over-emotional hysterics, sending us back to the specific historical facts (to which Russian musicians all too often make appeal) … here the factors that had given rise to this tale, universal in its message, were put into brackets, and the city and the world were given a demonstration of the story of that pressure put on a man that cause melancholy and apathy, thickly mingling into despair… The historical and cultural milieu in which the work was cooked up is completely unimportant, since the work perfectly accurately conveys the unchangeable (like the universal law of gravity) logic of the growths of self-perception; here was a Fifth that sounded as though it had been written only yesterday (or even today) – about us, about me, about every person sitting in this hall... "
(translation courtesy of Nicholas Winter)
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