THESSALONIKI, 13 October 2003
Performances with a positive perspective
Lisa Xanthopoulou conducts the Orchestra of the Municipality of Thessaloniki
Review: ANTONIS I. KONSTANDINIDES
Beyond the lively and positive impressions that we were left with by the Symphony Orchestra of the Municipality of Thessaloniki at its concert of the 6th of October at the Concert Hall, the resounding feeling of the evening once again led to a by now self-evident observation. The Municipality's orchestra, despite the logistical and other problems that it faces, continues, in the hands of the right conductor, to deliver careful interpretations and to reveal the virtues of its members, regardless of those who harbor any doubts.
The program opened with Sibelius' Valse Triste. The clear timbre of the strings and the swaying dance rhythm emerged as a welcoming, sensual and colorful overture, a light prelude to the concert.
The gratifying evening closed with Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony. This work, which records some impressions from the composer's travels, despite its title, has little to do with the notion of so-called program music. The composer's use of clean melodic lines, clear sense of movement and the ambiance created by his orchestration result in a work of atmospheric presence and lively resonance.
The romantic subtext and virtues of the work were revealed with clarity and vision by the well-prepared orchestra, which made a very positive impression with its coherent performance.
The conductor Lisa Xanthopoulou
Of the conductor, Lisa Xanthopoulou, it is safe to say that she represents the great musical tradition of the German-speaking world. However, she does much more than merely imitate her role models. Under her clear and all-encompassing guidance, the Orchestra revealed a well-structured reading of the works which could not easily be called into question. Plastic and masterly in her movements, without excessive dramatics, but with strength, quality and sensitivity, she reminded us of something which can, on occasion, be easily forgotten: that knowledge and dignity, accompanied by a refusal to accept easy compromise and an absolutely natural feel for music force many of our younger compatriots onto the road of a lonely and difficult struggle, a road entailing the proud rejection of a confining and often abject Greek reality. Through this prism, Ms. Xanthopoulou's success would seem to be her inevitable destiny. Or perhaps that's just the way it is, as feminist as this may sound, since, in Greek, the nouns music, experience, effort, and knowledge are all ...feminine.