Of course I couldn’t miss a chance to reunite with the Wiener Symphoniker on Sunday. (known in these parts as the Vienna Symphony Orchestra–where the “orchestra” came from, I know not). I wrote about it for Bachtrack.
The Italian conductor Fabio Luisi has become an increasingly familiar
and welcome face to New York audiences. Recently appointed Principal
Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, he is primarily known here as an
operatic conductor. But he has also been the chief conductor of the
Vienna Symphony Orchestra (known as the Wiener Symphoniker in German)
since 2005, and on Sunday the Viennese joined him in Avery Fisher Hall.
While the warhorse program recalled the taste of the city’s other major
orchestra–the arch-conservative Vienna Philharmonic–it was a fine
Click here to read the whole thing. I like Luisi a lot but I was really going to this concert to hear Schmidt’s fantastic Symphony No. 4, which was swapped with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, a piece the Symphoniker could probably play in their sleep. (The obvious explanation is that this change had to do with the amount of time Luisi has been spending at the Met.) I was quite disappointed.
It’s interesting how Luisi’s reputation in New York is so much better than it is in Vienna. He keeps canceling Symphoniker gigs to conduct at the Met, which doesn’t endear him to the Viennese, but most of the people I talked to managed to both be pissed about his absenteeism and denigrate his conducting skills. In my experience he is a better opera conductor than a symphonic conductor, and he doesn’t conduct opera in Vienna much (as one of the many, many conductors who doesn’t get along with the Staatsoper), but he’s still a fine musician, far above average, and I was surprised at how low Viennese audiences rated him. I think there might be some national prejudice here–his repertoire overlaps to a dangerous extent with Christian Thielemann’s. But anyway, Vienna, New York is happy to take Luisi off your hands.
I’d prefer you send him over with Schmidt next time, though.