Gustavo Dudamel, Usher Hall, Edinburgh
By Andrew Clark / Financial Times
August 14 2008 19:45
It is a measure of how steeply Gustavo Dudamel's stock
has risen in the past 18 months that he was back at the
Edinburgh Festival <http://www.eif.co.uk/> and the Proms
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2008/>this week. Darling of
both events last year, he has returned not with the Simon
Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela but with the stately
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra <http://www.gso.se/>, where
he recently became chief conductor.
Working regularly with musicians twice your age is different
to touring the world with your own generation. Raw talent
is no longer enough. Charisma can hide a lot of inexperience,
but sooner or later the quality of your musical understanding
will reveal itself. And the sad fact of this 27-year-old's
career -- exactly like Daniel Harding's a decade ago -- is
that he has had nowhere out-of-the-way to make his mistakes.
Impresarios have pounced on him, promoted him and now,
almost overnight, expect him to exhibit interpretative
maturity. It shows how shallow and short-sighted the classical
music industry can be.
There's no doubting Dudamel's ability to beat his way through
a score -- all from memory. He has the look of a young Simon
Rattle -- the idiosyncratic left-hand gestures as much as
the frizzy mop. He's got rhythm, amply demonstrated by
Copland's /Appalachian Spring/. But give him anything
requiring depth and substance, and he's lost. The music
degenerates into extremes of loud and soft, fast and slow.
Ravel's /La Valse /was punched out without a whiff of
mystery. This was nothing compared to Berlioz's /Symphonie
fantastique/. The opening "Reveries" were brash and frenetic.
"The Ball" unfurled without a single rubato. "Scene in the
Fields" lacked shape, majesty, bloom. "March to the Scaffold"
was like a parade of hippos. The finale was shockingly crude
and noisy. Gothenburg was foolish to engage him./ [But
probably good enough for LA?]
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