By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear certainly was.
And so was the New York Times critic David Allen.
But rather than wait to go hear van Zweden live, Allen plunged into van Zweden’s discography. The many recordings gave him a very good idea of what the conductor’s strengths and weaknesses are.
It took Allen some 52 hours of listening to do his due diligence and get a comprehensive background and preparation.
But the conclusions he reaches about van Zweden (below, in a photo by Washington of The New York Times) in contemporary repertoire as well as in classic works by Franz Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Peter Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner, among others, are illuminating.
You can hear Jaap van Sweden conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in what seems to The Ear an energetic and forceful interpretation of the Symphony No. 1 by Brahms in the YouTube video at the bottom.
Here is a link. You can judge for yourself what the public can look forward to:
What do you think of Allen’s assessment?
Does it seem fair? Biased?
Does it make you look forward to hearing van Zweden?
The Ear wants to hear.