Barenboim's CSO farewell
June 18, 2006
Just got back from DB's final CSO concert, at least as music director, and despite all the recent talk of him not planning on returning, I have to think that what the orchestra did for him today was a direct plea not to be a stranger. He gave a 14 minute address to the audience before Beethoven's 9th, talking about conducting and the significance to him of his 36-year relationship with the CSO, and ending with the announcement that he was made Honorary Conductor for Life by them earlier in the day, when he had his 'private' farewell with them.
The Choral Fantasy was a perfect final curtain raiser, letting DB play solo piano, chamber music with the principles, direct the woodwinds, and conduct--a fun summary.
The 9th was a rich, romantic performance--the orchestra gorgeous (last night's Bruckner 9th had some of the best orchestral cello playing I've ever heard--stunning), the soloists and chorus inspired. Clocked in at 1 hour 14 minutes, followed by a 15 minute ovation that ended only when DB led concertmaster Robert Chen off the stage. Before doing that, he worked his way through the orchestra, shaking hands or hugging every single member of the CSO. Of course, he received a tusche (sp?) from them.
A moving night, made all the more special by a superb Beethoven 9. He will be missed. And how many music directors can end their reign with a series of concerts like he has, including the complete Well-Tempered Clavier?