Bruckner's last symphony as the first concert of 2018
Music wise Daniele Gatti seldom failes to make a firm first impression and he did not fail to do that on Sunday either. He shrouded the Teutonic symphony in the dramatic robe of an Italian opera. With Gatti, Bruckner's reverence for God seemed to be mainly articulated by volume. It was, narrowing down on one aspect of this performance, a battle of the tuttis. His approach, marked by a stark sense for contrast, showed on one hand a keen ear for detail (after the massive tuttis the pizzicatos that followed sounded even more refined) with on the other hand a preference for large gestures that seemed to keep Bruckner away from the embrace with “Dem lieben Gott” that the Austrain composer-organ player must have envisioned. The original intentions of the composer aside: it worked. You had the feeling of attending an event (as often with Gatti). Despite that big plus, it remains difficult for me to qualify Gatti's interpretative qualities. With the undeniable awe for his reading of Bruckner’s Ninth, I wonder at the same time whether Gatti does not emphasize too much what is already obvious. One tend to think, for instance, that the crescendos are more than capable to tell their own story without turning them into a decibel fest. Gatti is not a painter who paints in thin strokes, he uses the brush, a paint sprayer even. He is an artist who emphatically demonstrates the rough edges that his approach leaves behind. It gave, despite or thanks to the finely tuned machine that is the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bruckner by times an improvisational feel. As if the notes played had to be found on the spot. For the strings, Bruckner is hard work and with Gatti it is even harder work. With his approach, the conceptual virtuosity (the musically innovative) is explicitly accompanied by physical virtuosity (the ability to play difficult and complex music). With Gatti, the effort to transform a demanding score into a well sounding piece of music is audible (and visible). The orchestra sighed, creaked and burned. The bows of violin and double bass stayed, just by a small margin, safe from catching fire. The difference with the more objective approach in the Bruckner readings by Bernard Haitink (the natural counterpart of Gatti here) could hardly be bigger.
Gatti gave Bruckner by times an improvisational feel. As if the notes played had to be found on the spot.
Daniele Gatti - conductor
Wagner - Prelude 3rd act ('Parsifal', WWV 111)
Wagner - Karfreitagszauber ('Parsifal', WWV 111)
Bruckner - Ninth Symphony in d 'Dem lieben Gott'