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Windy City Laurels for van Zweden


by Jerome Weeks 14 Oct 2008

The Chicago Tribune sized up DSO conductor Jaap van Zweden last week, before he arrived to conduct Bruckner’s 5th symphony as an emergency replacement for Riccardo Chailly — and reported, more or less, that they were cautiously impressed. This weekend, the Sun-Times agreed. Andrew Patner, critic-at-large for Chicago’s WFMT, wrote that, “On the strength of […]

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The Chicago Tribune sized up DSO conductor Jaap van Zweden last week, before he arrived to conduct Bruckner’s 5th symphony as an emergency replacement for Riccardo Chailly — and reported, more or less, that they were cautiously impressed. This weekend, the Sun-Times agreed. Andrew Patner, critic-at-large for Chicago’s WFMT, wrote that, “On the strength of this remarkable debut, I would go to hear Van Zweden conduct anything, anywhere.”

You couldn’t get a more glowing assessment. Unless you turned back to the Tribune, whose critic, John von Rhein wrote that van Zweden showed “the confidence and authority of a born conductor.”

There is something of Georg Solti’s intensity and electric drive about Van Zweden, minus the ferocity. He has a string player’s feeling for shaping the arc of a singing line. Nothing he did seemed on autopilot: He found as much drama in the near-silences as in the majestic climaxes. His full engagement with the music and the musicians, body and soul, was never in doubt.

And yes, happy-to-leap-to-their-feet-for-anything Dallasites — there was a standing O.

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  • I don’t know. Rather than Jeff, I’m probably the one who’s most likely to try to teach a screaming mob how to pronounce things properly.

    “It’s FRAHNK-en-SHTEEN. Not Frankenstein!!”

    With no apologies at all to Mel Brooks.