Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Global Mission Accomplished

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Global Mission Accomplished

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK KIMBERLEY

WORLD ORCHESTRA FOR PEACE/GERGIEV WITH the 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth this year, and the centenary of his death next year, there's no shortage of his music. The day after the BBC Scottish's Mahler 3 Prom, Valery Gergiev arrived with the World Orchestra for Peace (WOFP), and since Gergiev doesn't do things by halves, he delivered not one but two Mahler symphonies, 4 and 5. WOFP was founded by Georg Solti in 1995 in celebration of the United Nations' 50th anniversary; when Solti died in 1997, Gergiev took over as conductor. The players, drawn from orchestras worldwide, come together for two concerts a year, their musicmaking a quixotic model for global cooperation.

The fact that the orchestra isn't permanent means that, while the players individually may know their Mahler, collectively they have to start from scratch. There were rough edges in both symphonies but in Mahler a little roughness can work wonders.

For the Fourth, Gergiev scaled down his orchestra, delivering a reading that was trim and transparent. Yet rhythms were firm, phrases attacked with real bite, the solos characterful: leader Rainer Kuchl brought a particularly demonic edge to his showcase moments. …

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