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|Francis Gouton Review|
Gunma Symphony Orchestra 28th Tomo Subscription Concert
November 22, 2009
Kiryu-shi Shimin Bunka Kaikan Hall
by Shoko Minozaki
Martin Turnovsky conducted the Gunma Symphony Orchestra at its Tomo subscription concert for the same program he performed with the orchestra in the previous evening for its 459th subscription concert at its base, the Gunma Music Center. The 81-year old maestro, who is in his 11th season as the orchestra's principle guest conductor, brought out of the orchestra a well balanced, elegant performance. The audience enjoyed outstanding rendition of masterpieces.
The first half of the program was Dvorak's Cello Concerto. The soloist was Francis Gouton. The transparent overture by the orchestra heralded the timbre of the cello. Once he began playing, Gouton's exceptional perfection was apparent in his splendid fingering and supple vowing. His performance, which was firm, deep, wistful, and clear, possessed an overwhelming sense of presence. In the third movement, he played moving duo with the orchestra's concertmaster, Shintaro Osada
The second half of the program was Brahms's Symphony No. 4, which is known to be Maestro Turnovsky's favorite and specialty. In this work, he let the orchestra sing spontaneously in full massiveness and expressions, which was in contrast with the repressed sound of Dvorak's concerto. Each movement was presented with a distinctive character. The flute solo in the forth movement was exceptionally beautiful in the hall where wind instruments receive great resonance. The melancholic, still warm melodies were outstanding.
Overall, the evening's performances were beautifully organized and excellent.
Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra 258th Subscription Concert
November 14, 2009
Minato Mirai Hall
by Akira Koyama
The Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra invited two guest musicians for their 258th subscription concert --- the conductor Martin Turnovsky and the cello soloist Francis Gouton. The program consisted of Weber's overture to Oberon, Dvorak's Cello Concerto, and Martinu's Symphony No. 4. The evening had an auspicious start with Turnovsky's masterful interpretation of the overture to Oberon. The following piece, Dvorak, however, was a bit too abundant with fantasy. The conductor put a great sense of scale in the first movement from the outset. The theme was given more sophistication than a rustic flavor. The cello solo had abundant poetic beauty in its spontaneous singing. Its timbre was so beautiful as to be mesmerizing, and Gouton's techniques were exquisite. Especially, his phrasing sense was exceptional. Perhaps, that sense is inherited in the blood of French cellists. In the finale, Gouton displayed further virtuosity while perfectly interacting with the orchestra.
Turnovsky was particularly eloquent when he conducted Martinu. He exquisitely expressed this Czech symphony's overwhelming lyricism. While depicting the work's delicate musical structure, he built up dynamic sound filled with energy. In the third movement Largo, he let the strings and winds sing lyrically.
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