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More reviews from Honeck's Berlin Phil debut

Written by Andrew Druckenbrod on .

I will do my best to collect reviews of Manfred Honeck's guest conducting debut with the Berlin Philharmonic last week. So far only one, from Der TagesSpiegel, and it spent 75% on violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and about 15% on Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra, which Honeck conducted, leaving 10% for Honeck:

 

Ein später Debütant bei den Berlinern ist Manfred Honeck, immerhin schon 54 Jahre alt, ein Österreicher, der zunächst als Bratschist bei den Wiener Philharmonikern arbeitete, bevor er sich für die Dirigentenlaufbahn entschied, seit 2008 Chef des Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, hierzulande eher unterschätzt. Und vielleicht jetzt auf dem entscheidenden Karrieresprung. Am Donnerstag jedenfalls lassen sich die Musiker nur zu gerne von Honeck durch Witold Lutoslawskis „Konzert für Orchester“ leiten. Eine großartige, hochintelligent konstruierte, irisierend vielfarbige Partitur, eine Entdeckung für die meisten im Saal – und wahrlich das richtige Virtuosenfutter für die formidablen Philharmoniker.

In seinem raffinierten Detailreichtum, seiner organisch sich entfaltenden Modernität scheint das 1954 vollendete Stück geradezu in den Philharmonie-Saal hineinkomponiert zu sein, den Scharoun ja tatsächlich in diesen Jahren konzipiert hat. Architektur und Klang, Auge und Ohr in perfekter Symbiose.

Essentially, it notes he is old for a debuting conductor and that the orchestra enjoyed working with him....like I said, not much of a review... 

Here is another one, in the Berliner-Zeitung, and it does write a lot about Honeck, but it is not really favorable. One of the subtitles is "Honeck etwas verloren" or "Something was lost by Honeck"

 

But here are two more (translations are not mine). The first has some nice comments about Honeck. The second is more about how he helped Mutter! Well, she is more famous.

Schwäbische Zeitung: “And the Berlin audience was thrilled. Rightly. Honeck, who conducts a demanding program every year at the Wolfegger Konzerte, was on the conductor’s stand of the world famous orchestra on three evenings. […] But those who left the concert after the interval missed a truly haunting musical event. Because the actually interesting part came only now:  Lutoslawski’s concerto for orchestra. Together with the Berlin Philharmonic, who were in best shape, Honeck worked out the enormous richness of colours and the immense tenseness of this monumental work. It was pure joy to follow Honeck’s accurate gestures, not only to listen but also to watch the sound develop. Excited applause released the late debutant. Is there a relationship looming? After all, the Philharmonic is looking for a successor of Simon Rattle. It is known that he will quit in 2018.”

 

Berliner Morgenpost   “For her three Berlin concerts she brought along a conductor who at the same time gave his debut at the Berlin Philharmonic: Manfred Honeck, whose calm, self-assured abilities on the conductor’s stand the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra secured itself until the end of 2020. Honeck is a man of a steady hand who does nothing but carefully follow the score’s instructions. It is not his intention to excel at conducting or to make himself interesting in any sort. All interest is focused only on the music, and thus he exactly follows the ideas of Anne-Sophie Mutter. Together they build an exemplary interpreters couple which never lose sight of the composers’ ideas (…) but only let the selfless art of serving have its say. Which was persistently admired and, at the end, equally celebrated.”

 

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