Gustavo Dudamel has two completely contrasting role models: “Herbert von Karajan because of his discipline. And Leonard Bernstein – a man who took risks and was full of emotion.” The charismatic Venezuelan is now known around the world for precision and emotional expression – a thoroughbred musician who is praised to the skies by his mentors Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim and Simon Rattle – “the most talented and fascinating conductor I know,” says Sir Simon.
In addition to Igor Stravinsky’s Suites No. 1 and No. 2 with “Valse”, “Polka” and “Galop”, Gustavo Dudamel conducts two symphonies at his guest performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker: Franz Schubert’s Fourth in C minor D 417, in which the composer, by returning to Haydnesque models, consciously wanted to distance himself from Beethoven’s symphonic works, in which the slow middle movement unfurls an unending flow of melody in song-like cantabile, a typical moment in Schubertian composition.
The concert concludes with Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony in B flat major op. 60, which in Robert Schumann’s words appears like a “svelte Greek maid between two Nordic giants” (the Symphonies Three and Five), whereas “Greek” may stand in the first instance for “classical”, thus “in keeping with the known form”, which is by all means the case here. The attribute “svelte” also appropriately describes this music because the work makes use of fewer voices than all other Beethoven symphonies and deploys the woodwind instruments in a truly intimate manner reminiscent of chamber music.