José Antonio Lacárcel: Marta Argerich, Suisse Romande and Charles Dutoit in a unique night at the Palace of Charles V

We still have the memory of an unforgettable night spent at the Palace of Charles V, the scene of so many successes in different editions of the Festival. A stage where the best orchestras and the most brilliant conductors have paraded. But the night of the Saturday was something that I think will endure in the memory of the good fan, because I think it remains engraved with enormous force, with the intense vigor of great musical events. For the first time in Granada, the mythical creation of the maestro Ernest Ansermet: the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, so closely linked to all the great composers of the past 19th century. The Suisse Romande, that of the mythical recordings, that of the impeccable track record. The orchestra that emerged with force, with an unusual energy from the master hand of the intellectual, the wise and artist Ansermet. The Orchestra that premiered Falla in London, that vindicated Strawinsky. The great orchestra of French-speaking Switzerland, a true reference for those of us who learned, as children, to love the best Spanish music from the hand of this myth of direction.

And the one who drank in his teachings for three years was precisely the vigorous and exceptional Charles Dutoit. He, always eternally young, always strong and spirited, always the great artist, was the one who led this orchestral group that unites veteran musicians with many young, excellent artists and with a promising future for themselves and for the orchestra of which they are part. That’s nothing, we had the Suisse Romande, we had Charles Dutoit – how can we forget his great contributions to recordings and videos, with the Montreal Orchestra that he directed for more than twenty years – and the great Martha Argerich returned to the stage of the Carlos V, whose mastery makes all praise unnecessary. The impeccable technique, prodigious fingering, an interpretive ability out of the ordinary and, above all, that sensitivity, that soul of an artist that seems to spill over the keyboard and that achieves the miracle of brilliant interpretation. On this occasion, her much-loved Schumann. And always the prodigy of an art that is born in her, that is inherent to her person. Forever young, Martha Argerich completed the cast of that triumphant night in an edition of the Festival that will go down in history, a formidable edition with which Antonio Moral bids us farewell – let’s hope it is a see you later – who, by the way, had simple and emotional words when highlighting Argerich’s personality at the Gold Medal presentation ceremony of the Granada Festival.

Second Suite from El Sombrero de Tres Picos, by Manuel de Falla. We could already see that the Suisse Romande was, live, the great orchestra that shone since its foundation. A Vecinos told with flair, with that strange mix of the popular and the most elegant. Once again the strength of the orchestra with the Dance of the Miller to culminate in the great final scene that has the jota as its base.

But we had to listen to Martha Argerich in Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor. The most complete formal beauty is allied with the most passionate lyricism. A concert of this magnitude required an exceptional artist like Martha Argerich. Her version of Schumann was passionate, with absolute dedication. She knew how to admirably combine her impeccable technique with that feeling that came from her way of seeing and feeling and therefore, of transmitting the great beauty of Schumann’s concerto. Perfect fingering, cleanliness in all the passages, external beauty and inner vision. All this was achieved by Martha Argerich who counted on the great collaboration of the orchestra and the brilliance and confidence of Dutoit.

But the great event was still to come. The formidable version that Suisse Romande and Dutoit made of The Rite of Spring. Formidable, I repeat. All the instrumental families shining with their own light. All the changes of rhythm, the entire sound world of Stravinsky perfectly expressed by the wise baton of Charles Dutoit and an orchestra that followed him disciplined, happy to be so well conducted. In this way we received the most complete version of one of the greatest works of the 20th century. In this way we were able to savour the best of Stravinsky with the splendid rotundity of the Suisse Romande and with the exceptional art of the great Charles Dutoit. A concert for the mythical memory of the history of our festival.

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