tue 25/06/2024

Philharmonia Orchestra, Eliahu Inbal, RFH | reviews, news & interviews

Philharmonia Orchestra, Eliahu Inbal, RFH

Philharmonia Orchestra, Eliahu Inbal, RFH

A Mahler Two to make you quake and a conductor to make you chuckle

Eliahu Inbal:
Clown trousers, comedy tie, half a head of candy floss hair and a circus-performer's grin received us last night from the podium. Was that Krusty the Clown conducting Mahler's Resurrection Symphony? No, it was Eliahu Inbal, one of the funniest-looking men in a pretty funny-looking profession. During one of those big preganant caesuras in the Allegro maestoso, I was half-expecting balloons to shoot out of his baggy trousers or, at the end, the singers' flowers to be ta-dahed from his even baggier sleeves. He even came on stage with two batons. Why? Who knows. Perhaps I missed a juggled encore.

Clown trousers, comedy tie, half a head of candy floss hair and a circus-performer's grin received us last night from the podium. Was that Krusty the Clown conducting Mahler's Resurrection Symphony? No, it was Eliahu Inbal, one of the funniest-looking men in a pretty funny-looking profession. During one of those big preganant caesuras in the Allegro maestoso, I was half-expecting balloons to shoot out of his baggy trousers or, at the end, the singers' flowers to be ta-dahed from his even baggier sleeves. He even came on stage with two batons. Why? Who knows. Perhaps I missed a juggled encore.

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Igor Lalic's journalistic eye has made a big thing about an irrelevant detail - it is unlikely that many, or any, in the RFH on Thursday cared a hoot about Inbal's trousers. What was a pity, however, was that Lalic, distracted by clothes, appeared to have missed what was one of the truly great performances of the last movement of Mahler's second symphony. The chorus was more than excellent. It was stupendous. From the first stirrings of those famous pppp notes, to the sudden forte burst, and finallly in the sustained fortissimo at the end, it was singing of the very highest quality. Intonation, control, dynamic movement - it was all there. I heard someone say that it was the best performance of the work he had heard in the RFH, better too than his recordings by Solti and Rattle. Here was musical history being made, and all Lalic could do was prattle on about clothes.

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