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David Royko Psy.D

Music Ramblings: November 7, 2007, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Temirkanov, Julia Fischer; CSO, Dohnanyi, Steinbacher

St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Temirkanov, Julia Fischer; CSO, Dohnanyi, Arabella Steinbacher

Last night, Temirkanov/St Petersburg came through Chicago, with the Mozart MoF overture, Beethoven VC, with Julia Fischer, and the Prokofiev 5th. I heard Fischer in May in the Beethoven (with Zinman and the BBC), and both times now she's bowled me over--a real tonic to Arabella Steinbacher, who I heard do the Sibelius concerto last week (with the CSO/Dohnanyi), and was bowled over in the other direction. I found myself thinking that Steinbacher doesn't belong on stage with a world-class orchestra, in both technical and musical terms, and I've rarely heard a soloist sound so disconnected from, and out-of-sync with, an orchestra (which I have to think is partly the fault of Dohnanyi).

But back to St Petersburg. The Beethoven was superb, but I found the Prokofiev, to my surprise, underwhelming. I thought Temirkanov was too fast much of the time, and the crossrhythms too often de-emphasized the secondary rhythms, making these passages sound four-square-ish. It also came off as a bit episodic. The sound of the orchestra is still gorgeous, but this ain't Mravinsky's super-precise, whip-crack ensemble (not that there's anything wrong with that). Temirkanov is a blast to watch, though. Funny that I came away thinking that St Petersburg is a better Beethoven orchestra than Prokofiev orchestra.

Anyone know what the encore was? It sounded like Glazunov or


Dave Royko