Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Achieves a Success in Shanghai Premier Concert

Tellingly, the perfect and unique interpretation of the two well-chosen pieces won the hearts of the audience.

On the evening of the 3rd November, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Switzerland's oldest and most distinguished orchestra, led by one of the world finest conductors, David Zinman performed the Schubert's Symphony No. 7, "Unfinished", and Mahler's Symphony No. 5 at Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, as part of the 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival. The concert had drawn dramatic attentions from all sides. Tellingly, the perfect and unique interpretation of the two well-chosen pieces won the hearts of the audience.

With nearly 150 years of celebrated history, Switzerland's Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich has become a bright star in the world of symphony orchestras. The renowned American conductor David Zinman has been working with the orchestra for 16 years and no one could doubt the integrity and the togetherness between the two. Their interpretation of Mahler Symphony has been recognized as one of the best in the classical world. From 2004 to 2010, the orchestra finished the recording of the Mahler cycle, which obtained an immediate success after release both commercially and critically. Among all the ten CDs, No.1, No.4 and No.5 are particularly critically-acclaimed.

During the Shanghai concert, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich firstly played Schubert's Symphony No. 7, "Unfinished". With the moving tune and poetic melody, the audiences were sunk into their own spiritual world. In the second half of the concert, they were somehow dragged to the powerful emotion of Mahler. As a touchstone for the world's best orchestras, Mahler's Symphony No. 5 was fully displayed by their oozing integrity, showmanship and wonderful team-work. The strings were gentle and sincere; the woodwinds delicate and warm; the brass brilliant and sharp which highlighted the whole symphony. When it came to the Scherzo of the third part, the woodwinds jointed with the enchanting brass and made a perfect match, as if the tickle became a stream. The tune of harp was bracing and ethereal, as if coming from the ancient times. The splendid arrangements and the wisdom of Mahler melted in the piece and agreeably intoxicated the audience.

Before the concert, David Zinman received an interview and talked about his own understanding of Mahler and his work. He said that he saw this great composer as a prophet. In his opinion, Mahler's composing styles and techniques are very modern, very close to our generation. Therefore, his works are much more easily approached and understood by us than by his contemporaries. His music foresees the human nature, like what Beethoven exposed in his compositions. Zinman also agrees that Mahler No.5 Symphony plays a significant role in composer's career. He said, the piece was created in the middle of his career, so while continuing his previous style it also stood for the beginning of a new era of the composer.

This is the first time David Zinman and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich have made an appearance together in China, and also the second tour for the orchestra since last time they came to China under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach at the end of the 80s. On the 5th November, the orchestra will give another performance at National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.