I must share this small excerpt from the Maestro's website to give you a glimpse into this astonishing conductor who has led many European orchestras.
"As a child I discovered the joy of music making. Whether singing songs, playing tunes on the piano, or singing along with my sisters and friends, music always made me feel at home. I also discovered that music making helped me overcome loneliness and sadness, but also brought me joy and happiness in the special moments of my life. To date I have enjoyed the same kind of happiness building up programs for audiences that are different all over the world but are united in a "love affair" with music".
The is clearly a conductor who is loves his orchestra as well as the audience. We watched as he took the time to single out solists for their efforts. He smiled as if to say paternalistic appreciation for a debt of gratitude. His gestures and nuances are phenomenal for a conductor his age. There were many in the audience who gave him a standing ovation eraly in the evening. It is clear that he is adored by his fans.
The highlight of the evening was most definately the Piano Concerto in A minor, Opus 54 played by the Brazilain borne pianist, Nelson Friere. He played with much finess and musicianship that one was taken away on a journey in this piece. His cadenza was full of counterpoint and intrigue without flagrant movements or embellishments. Masur looked to him for guidance. The orchestra was well matched in both its timing to support and not overpower the soloist. This performance was being recorded and will sit well within the current interpretations. I reflect on many soloists including Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Radu Lupu, Martha Argerich, Gina Bachauer, Christian Zimmerman, Murray Perahia, Maurizzio Pollini and Dubravka Tomsic, Russel Sherman Mitsuko Uchida and countless others that we have seen throughout the years and I marveled at the solid and yet exciting performance of this artist. He played with confidence and yet without the percussive tactics of Lang Lang, yet rose to the level of expressivity of Brendel or Tomsic, two of my favorites. According both Friere and Masur received an adulatory standing ovation that continued on for minutes. Only in this piece did Masur resort to a score and set of half-framed reading glasses.
The evening closed with a rousing Symphony No 4 in D mior, Opus 120. This was full of contrast and counterpoint. Masur's gestures served to extract every nuance out of the music and the performers. Masur knows this music well as witnessed by his ability to bring this music to audience and let them be part of the performance. Sitting in the 3rd row, we were able to see his articulations guide the quality musicians to vivid performance. Masur is no stranger to Boston and it is apparent that he has a following. He appears to be modest man who acknowledges parts of the orchestra for their exceptional talent and efforts. He again received a standing ovation and took his humble bows from the floor rather than on the podium. This is a man content with his life who tries to educate through music.
It is not often that I attend concerts with familar music and come home full of joy and fulfillment, but last night exceeded my expectations. Masur is tribute to all conductors as a model for setting aside his ego to engulf us in a common language that ttranscends all cultures.