OMG, what happened to the Polish National Youth Orchestra, Sinfonia Iuventus? This orchestra was once so brilliant that ICMA gave it a Special Achievement Award in 2014, but the band we heard yesterday evening in an All-Beethoven program under Michail Jurowski is only a shadow of its former glory.

While Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture had some drama, the early Piano Concerto WoO 4 with soloist Julia Zilberquilt couldn’t convince due to one really sloppy performance. Of course, this concerto composed by 14-year-old Beethoven is quite tricky, especially for the winds, but while Jurowski tried to get a rhetoric playing, he just ended up with an unsatisfying performance.

The third work, Symphony No 6, the beloved Pastorale, was a disaster. It sounded like the once vigorous and easily responding musicians had become instrumental apparatchiks. The playing was not only unprecise and unrefined, it lacked clarity of articulation, it lacked dynamic differentiation, it lacked flexibility as well as all the feeling for the basic elements of music. It was a boring performance!

While talking with Polish friends after the concert, I learned that this orchestra has no longer a principal conductor und therefore is short of training. The result of such a policy is all too obvious. What a shame! And what an affront to the organizer of the Beethoven Festival!                                                                        Remy Franck (Warsaw)


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