Today's Classical Music Video

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jaap van Zweden and Sarah Chang

I have written recently about the amazing transformation Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden has achieved in just about a year and a half with the Dallas Symphony. Here he is in a recent performance with his other orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. This is a wonderful reading of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Sarah Chang the incomparable soloist. The concert was given in Amsterdam's famed Concertgebouw. At the beginning of the video, as the performers descended the long staircase I was reminded of a conversation I had with Christoph Eschenbach a few years ago. He told me that when he made his debut in this hall he tripped on the top step and tumbled all the way down to the bottom! It doesn't get any more memorable than that!

But notice how sensitive van Zweden is to his soloist, both in terms of precision and balance. Van Zweden knows something about playing the violin too; he was concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for eighteen years. Notice also the rich string sound van Zweden gets from his orchestra and how powerful the climaxes are without being noisy.

Paul E. Robinson



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