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Gergiev, World Orchestra for Peace, Royal Albert Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Gergiev, World Orchestra for Peace, Royal Albert Hall

Gergiev, World Orchestra for Peace, Royal Albert Hall

A lousy Mahler Four and an invigorating Mahler Five

Valery Gergiev: 'This wasn't a Mahler performance about the eternal but about the moment. And in Gergiev's hands every moment was vital.'Chris Christodoulou
It seemed odd on paper. Two Mahler symphonies? In one night? I don't think I'd ever seen that. Last night's Prom showed why not. While Valery Gergiev's second half Mahler Five saw the stage transfigured into a writhing sea of bodies and the air filled with an epic sound, his first half starter, Mahler Four, fell flat on its face. One was a performance; the other was a rehearsal to a performance.


The Principal Trumpet was Timur Martynov, and Gareth Davis wasn't on the flute. A bit harsh about the 4th in my opinion.

You're absolutely right about the trumpeter, Frankie. Many thanks. Error corrected. The principal flautist in the Fourth certainly looked like Gareth Davies - whereas he definitely didn't resemble any of the other flautist listed in the programme. I felt he must have taken the place of LPO flautist Jaime Martin who I couldn't see. But I could be wrong.

Dear Mr Toronyi-Lalic You might have taken the trouble to check your facts before posting such an ill-informed criticism as yours on Friday. Maestro Gergiev arrived in London 4 days prior to the concert and had a total of 5 rehearsals, totalling 16 hours, of which more than 9 was spent on Mahler 4. Thanks to the BBC’s co-operation, two of these took place in the Hall itself, which is virtually unprecedented at the Proms. You are of course entitled to your opinion as to the success, or otherwise, of the performance and of Gergiev as a Mahler interpreter – but I ask that you remove the factual inaccuracies in your review, as my Orchestra is not prepared to let this stand as a matter of record and I trust that you do not wish to bring your website into disrepute. Yours sincerely – Charles Kaye Director, World Orchestra for Peace

And Jaine Martin was most certainly playing principal on Mahler 4...

Apologies, Jaime.... (typo)

Many thanks for that information, Charles. I've amended my copy in light of what you say. I will just add one point. I think it speaks volumes about this orchestral enterprise - which strikes me as being supremely noble but flawed - that Gergiev spent nine hours with the orchestra on the Fourth and still couldn't deliver the goods.

Strange, Igor (don't you think) that you are the only reviewer (of 25 I have read to date) that felt Mahler 4 was under-rehearsed.... Might be more constructive if you leave reviews of future Gergiev concerts to one of your colleagues. And of course we are flawed - (nobody's perfect) - but at least we are trying to get a constructive message across through our concerts. Perhaps one day you will get the point -and join us in a more constructive approach...! Charles

Strange that you missed all of these, Charles... The Independent: 'How much rehearsal time did they have for this concert? Not enough, one sensed'. The Telegraph: 'More glamour than polish'; 'individuality was more prominent than cohesion'. The Guardian: 'The teamwork doesn't consistently click'; 'there were some messy moments in both symphonies'. 'The little rehearsal time that such assembled forces are allowed was glimpsed'; 'the second movement of the Fourth Symphony was just held together'. Norman Lebrecht: 'The fourth symphony was semi-coherent.' I'll leave it at that.

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