Kaija Saariaho: Ciel d’hiver; Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Main, Op. 77; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47. Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Tarmo Peltokoski, conductor; Jonathan Crow, violin. Roy Thomson Corridor, January 29, 2023.
Podium prodigies appear to be getting youthful. This previous weekend, a Finnish conductor Tarmo Peltokoski, 22, made his North American debut on the helm of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Twenty-two is an age when even probably the most promising of budding maestri are ending their educational research or studying the ropes as an assistant. Peltokoski has already secured directorships and principal visitor posts in Bremen, Riga, Rotterdam and Toulouse.
The live performance on Sunday, the second of two in Roy Thomson Corridor, gave us to grasp why. Blessed with a pure baton method, Peltokoski is as athletic and demonstrative as they arrive, swaying, crouching, punching and pointing in line with the wants of the music — or, to be extra exact, his idiosyncratic view of it.
From the beginning of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, led from reminiscence, Peltokoski proved to be a formidable supervisor of tempo and quantity with a willingness to elide bar strains and push dynamics to extremes. Generally the end result was constructive, as within the Allegretto motion, the place the heartbeat shifted constantly with no lack of waltz character. He even danced by a few measures himself.
The Largo, however, was stretched and subdued virtually to the purpose of dissolution. Winds performed their lonely solos fantastically, however the impact was extra pictorial than tragic.
The finale bought off to a giant, robust begin — nice brass — that recommended a sardonic interpretation was within the offing. On the finish we had been left not sure. Maybe it may be mentioned that by investing all the pieces, together with the apparently heroic passages, with excessive conviction, Peltokoski remained true to the ambiguous character of this controversial motion.
The conductor made an outsize contribution additionally to Brahms’s Violin Concerto, carried out with TSO concertmaster Jonathan Crow (wearing a collarless shirt) within the title position. Slightly than match Crow’s refined tone, Peltokoski original an aggressive accompaniment that was notably loud and quick within the Adagio. A consummate professional, Crow was capable of adapt to the competitors, and made an excellent case for each the defiant and lyrical components of the solo half. Fascinating that he materialized behind the primary violins after intermission for the Shostakovich. That’s what I name a piece ethic.
Not one of the above commentary needs to be taken as a denial of Peltokoski’s great expertise and energy to carry your consideration. His extroverted podium fashion proved useful to an appreciation of Ciel d’hiver by his compatriot Kaija Saariaho, the 10-minute train in dissonant atmospherics that began this system.
The sizable viewers awarded all the pieces an acceptable ovation. There was a giant hand earlier than the second half for trumpeter James Spragg, taking part in his final live performance as a member of the TSO after 36 years with the orchestra. We want him the perfect.
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