You have been a member of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under the direction of Riccardo Chailly since 2016. At the upcoming Easter Festival, you will return with the Maestro and the Filarmonica della Scala. What does it feel like playing in both ensembles?
It feels very enriching! These are two great orchestras, although very different ones. On one side (Milano) you have the privilege to play with people who share your same concept of sound, and on the other (Lucerne) you play with fabulous musicians who have completely different backgrounds from one another. Sharing ideas and experiences and listening to new sounds — all this is vital for any musician. Couldn’t be luckier!
Do you notice any differences between Riccardo Chailly as leader of the Filarmonica della Scala and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra?
I would say none! Mr. Chailly always has high expectations of his musicians in terms of dedication, preparation, and readiness. He’s a great example for me of what a devoted and professional musician should be, never giving up on the smallest details. I truly and deeply respect both his work and his attitude.
Riccardo Chailly has said this about the Filharmonica: “You know the character of this orchestra after two bars” – What did he mean? What makes the orchestra so special?
I think the fact that we continuously switch from opera to symphonic works gives a special character to the orchestra. There certainly is a natural approach to accompanying melodies and solos, because we do it all the time with singers. On top of that, we perform in a very dry and not so generous acoustic. We always face a great challenge to make a full, warm sound. The extremities of the dynamic range aren’t easy or comfortable, believe me! Good sound making is never an option.
Works by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky will be on program: which part do you like best? Where can the audience enjoy the trombones’ performance at their very best?
All of these composers are very generous with the trombones. Most of their works display great trombone moments, though I tend to prefer how Shostakovich uses trombones in his late symphonies, where this great Master gives us the chance to appear in many thematic moments and beautiful, lyrical soli.
And is the Filarmonica as an Italian orchestra familiar with the musical language of Russia? Do you often play this kind of repertoire?
The Russian repertoire is so rich in unique masterpieces. Impossible to name them all! Therefore we often perform it. In fact we just had a European tour during which we played Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies No. 2 and 4, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and a suite from Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth.
Opera has a central role in the Russian musical literature, and I think there are many common points with the Italian. That doesn’t happen of course in terms of style but very much so in terms of musical approach.
Thanks to Daniele Morandini for the interview | Jacqueline Saner / LUCERNE FESTIVAL
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
7.30pm at KKL Luzern, Concert Hall
Filarmonica della Scala
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 (Little Russian)
Three Pieces from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Op. 29
Petrushka. Ballet in four scenes (1947 version)
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