Conductor Yoav Talmi, who lead the Utah Symphony Friday and Saturday nights, is a class act. The orchestra's conductor search committee would do its musicians and audience a grand service by placing this mega-talent right at the top of its list. This level of musicmaking rarely has graced Salt Lake City's Abravanel Hall. Talmi took a world-class orchestra and made it sound like a world-class orchestra!
Talmi's economy of gestures clearly communicates to both musician and audience the music he serves. Not only do we "see" the music of his extraordinary talent, but his interpretive approach to the concert's repertoire was extraordinary.
The conductor proved himself in command of every musical whim. The musicians gleefully responded to his directorial commands. If Talmi were given the tobe-vacant podium, he would lift music in Utah to new heights.
Saturday's concert culminated with Talmi escorting the orchestra through Ravel's sensuous score of "Daphnis et Chloe." Injecting every note with thorough passion, climaxes were felt right to the bone.
Talmi began his orchestral recital with the Serenade for Strings by Dvorak. This conductor juiced a rich sound from the strings. Edges of phrasings were rounded to achieve a warm cantabile. A contagious liveliness permeated the scherzo movement without resorting to cliched "clipping" of notes. In the larghetto, Talmi and strings achieved moments of sublimity that underscore the whole "meaning" of music.
As Talmi clearly "stole the show," there was a guest soloist. Violinist Leonard Braus joined this magical evening in a real stapIe of violin concerto literature, the Concerto NO.5 by Vieuxtemps. Braus' musical soul was displayed through his instrument.