John Axelrod

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15 Sep 2006
Tchaikovsky in Krakow, September 2006
Dziennik Polski

Performers: John Axelrod, Kaja Danczowska, Sinfonietta Cracovia Programme: Jean Sibelius: Finlandia Op.26 Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto in D major, Op.35 Peter Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64 As it was possible to become convinced, Korngold's Concerto in D major, which bears traces of his film music, fully met the standards. Kaja Danczowska was charming the audience with agility, her effervescent personality and sweet lyricism of cantabile parts. The public was enthralled with the funnily hearty finale to such extent that it had to be repeated as an encore. Even though I don't find the patriotic solemnity of Sibelius' Finlanadia touching, I must admit the brass section, intensely emphasized in that piece, sounded with so much power that it made me wondering whether John Axelrod hadn't smuggled some American trumpeters and trombonists into the orchestra. He is an excellent conductor and likes to make impression on the audience, but whatever he, does arises from his sensitivity to music. The results of his collaboration with the Sinfonietta Cracovia are impressive. In Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony he created a truly romantic abundance of moods: from the ominous introductory 'fate motif', through the beautifully played, solo of the French horn in Andante cantabile, shrouded in melancholy, to the defying gravity waltz of the third movement and daring Presto in the finale. The orchestra played with well proportioned tone quality and well maintained dialogues between the wind and strings, which, for a change, shone with riveting ferocity in the more dynamic episodes. Looking back, I can hardly remember an equally good performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony on the Cracow stage.

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