One had heard and read tremendous things about the meanwhile also frequently conducting violinist or violinist leonidas kavakos, especially from the USA. But from up close, things always look a little different. As conducting soloist of the vienna symphony orchestra he could not really convince in the coarse hall. They made it really easy for him.
Mozart's G major violin concerto K. 216 right at the beginning showed his dilemma. He was so busy conducting the orchestral introduction that he did not have time to concentrate on his own performance. And that was then promptly bumpily botched. For this reason, he should not have tried to conduct the orchestra, even if he had only one bar break. That was completely excessive. For the orchestra had its florian zwiauer, who had been in the orchestra from the 1. Pult from the load well held together and steered.
Surely the result would have been better if there had been a conductor next to kavakos on the podium, who had ensured his concentration on his playing, who had relieved him of the pressure of having to be his own partner. Thus kavakos' playing remained flat, dynamically unstructured, always the same in the repetitions, without an arc of tension, pointed in tone – in short: delivered. For kavakos was always good when he could be sure that no one expected anything from him: in the cadenzas. He was really good then.
No, mozart's G major concerto has been heard better and more gently, even in a large hall. Kavakos seems to pay for his conducting with a stagnation as a violinist.
A little movement is not enough
And the price is too high. Because with conducting it is such a thing. Kavakos is not an organizer, not a structurer, not a sound controller, not someone who thinks ahead a few beats and prepares changes while conducting, but rather he models what he hears with his hands and sometimes transforms it into a somewhat unwieldy expressive dance. An orchestra does not have much of this but a constant trouble spot in the front center.
One must compliment the viennese very roughly make how, under these conditions, not only joseph haydn's symphony nr. 83 with the sound-painting name "the hen", but above all played franz schuberts rough c-major symphony. But the quality of this orchestra was shown above all in wonderful individual performances, which made listening a pleasure.
But the sum of individual master performances is not necessarily a masterpiece. The problem was that kavakos never actually hit a precise one. This had two consequences: if the tone does not come precisely on the first beat – this is also known from jazz, where musicians prefer to play even before the beat – no tension can build up, because the arc of tension has no anchor point. And besides, the danger is great that the overall sound becomes impractical queasy. The fact that this happened to the viennese a few times does not speak against them; it can happen to any orchestra. The self-defense of the rough orchestra, when the one fails, is that it organizes itself. This means that they play versions that they know and "on it" have. And the viennese symphony orchestra is not the worst at that
On the small service road
If it had not been so embarrassing for the conductor had it not been so embarrassing for the conductor, one could have enjoyed how the first pulps seamlessly communicated with each other around the conductor. Only at one point, at a ritardando in the first movement, did one have the impression that kavakos had set this as a conductorial scent mark. For there he laughed afterwards to the violins like a victor, whom the rough orchestra had actually followed. If he had really wanted to convince, then he would have had to make considerably more of the lead in order to clarify the structures, especially of the C major symphony.
Leonidas kavakos should decide for violin or conducting in the interest of his artistic intrinsic value. Both may be a bit much, and there are very few instrumentalists who have really made the step up to conducting without losing substance. He should choose the violin. He already has the technique from which music can emerge.