The Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra had its annual concert in Athens last Tuesday. In the program, Mussorgksy's Night on the bare mountain, Shostakovich's 1st cello concerto and Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony. Myron Michailidis, the orchestra's artistic director, conducted this concert. The soloist, none other than the great Misha Maisky.
Maisky, I have heard before, also in Greece, back then it was with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Athens Festival. So, no surprise for his look or his dress. Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised -positively that is- from his performance either. The concerto suits him, very well that is, but he seems to be more concerned with other things than the music itself... I'm no expert in cello playing, but I'm not talking about that anyway. No great vibes coming from him. The music he's trying to make, I'm not very sure whether it's what Shostakovich had in mind. And if there is any doubt about his playing during the concerto, I can be absolutely sure that his c minor Sarabande -the first encore- was far from being a composition of Johann Sebastian Bach. In other words, if he wouldn't say what comes next, I couldn't have understand that it was Bach or anything before 1900... Makes me wonder, if there's a need of certain amount of narcissism in order to survive the industry. Is it possible to make it to the top, world class I mean, in the 21st century without loving yourself soooo much?
The orchestra was great. Good winds, some fine soloists there. But the strongest side of the orchestra seems to be the string section. Probably some complaints for the celli this evening, but in all a lovely performance. With the usual clapping unfortunately, at the end of the third movement... Got used to that already. I wonder however, why there should be always a famous foreign soloist performing with them, every time they come to Athens. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have the feeling that this was the case the last few years...
Another positive aspect was the presence of the Minister of Culture at this concert. Although he hasn't showed up for any concert of an Athenian orchestra, he decided to come to this one. Don't know why, but maybe things will change at this ministry -after some dark years. Let's hope. Cheers!