Tempestuous Tchaikovsky sends audience into ecstasy
Searing fate theme sends shudder through Finlandia Hall
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra at Finlandia Hall, cond. Gisèle Ben-Dor, sol. Martin Gabriel, oboe. - Haydn, Mozart, Tchaikovsky
The Uruguayan-Israeli_US conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor took her Finnish audience by storm last summer with her cool, original interpretations bursting with strength of will. This concert strengthened the impression that this fiery iron lady really comes into her own when given a chance to extract every ounce of effect from her orchestra: the more and the more varied the better. The fifth symphony by Tchaikovsky was a fine opportunity to do just this.
As if the emotionalism, the torment, the yearning, tragedy and pathos of Tchaikovsky's music were not enough in themselves, everything had to be enhanced, underlined, slowed down, speeded up, toned down, but above all the orchestra had to be driven to ever wilder and wilder ecstasy. The maestro seemed to get most satisfaction out of making Finlandia Hall shudder again and again at the ever more searing call of fate.
Ben-Dor was superbly successful in setting the Philharmonic on fire and making it give its all. The wild spontaneous applause at the end was proof alone of the large audience's ecstasy.
Ben-Dor once again proved herself to be a musician capable of entering into a dazzling partnership [in the Mozart oboe concerto].
Olavi Kauko, Helsingin Sanomat (Finland's leading daily in Finnish), 5 February 2000