BARCELONA / Dueñas and De la Parra, a long awaited and successful debut in Palau

Barcelona. Palau de la Música Catalana. 9 of March 2022. María Dueñas, violin. Deutsche Kammerphilhamonie Bremen. Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Works by Ginastera, Sibelius and Dvorák.


An eagerly awaited double debut in the Palau’s modernist hall, with the presence of two of the most internationally renowned figures of the musical panorama. On the one hand, the conductor Alondra de la Parra, who a few weeks earlier had performed in Barcelona’s Auditori leading the OBC; on the other hand, our María Dueñas, extraordinary and exceptional, of whom there is no longer any doubt that she is destined to be one of the most relevant and acclaimed violinists of the coming decades. A Palau full to overflowing, profusely illuminated – the concert was broadcast live via streaming -, in which the Mexican conductor and the violinist from Granada counted on the complicity of an efficient orchestra as was the Deutsche Kammerphilhamonie Bremen, which showed more than one lacuna both collectively and individually.


We would have been delighted if this German ensemble – currently on tour in Murcia, Barcelona, Bremen and Stuttgart – had included one of Haydn’s London symphonies in its programme, but opted for Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes to start the programme. De la Parra conducted with precise gesture, with a choreographic gestural and corporal expression; she showed eloquence and a power of communication that transmitted an absolute magnetism to the musicians of the orchestra. Variaciones Concertantes in which sometimes the horn takes centre stage, sometimes the double bass or the violin, and in which the specific qualities of each soloist of the orchestra are evident, whose talent is undeniable, although it is far from that of the German symphonic ensembles that are in everyone’s mind (Dresden, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Munich or, of course, Berlin). De la Parra captivated us by her gestural precision, by adapting the dramatic, giocosa, rhythmic that come one after the other in the twelve orchestral parts of the variations to the Argentinian composer’s own colourful sense, in a dense but well-knit work.


The Mexican conductor shared the limelight with a stellar María Dueñas. The violinist, in radiant white, impressed with a high-flying version of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. The purity of her sound, the way she has of making her violin sing and her technical precision – which allows her to unfold naturally in the most intricate and complex passages – continue to fascinate us day after day. Her youth seems to be inversely proportional to her maturity and aesthetic depth, as she conceived and delivered Sibelius’s fearsome Violin Concerto. Everything was expression, phrasing of the most refined elegance, her détaché, what a way of handling the bow!… Absolute precision to reach the most beautiful and refined sound possible and to give us a Sibelius full of emotion, romantic, eloquent, of a magical poetry in its central movement and of an intoxicating rhythm in the third… And Dueñas has not yet entered her twenties! The harmony with Alondra de la Parra was decisive. The conductor directed the orchestra to serve a balance of volume perfectly adjusted to the sound of the violin, she contaminated the Bremen maestros with a musical depth that recreated an enveloping atmosphere and carried the soloist on her wings who seduced us with a superb display of talent. With music from Manuel de Falla’s La vida breve – with impeccable orchestral support – was the farewell to María Dueñas, who had a dream debut in the Palau’s modernist hall.


The Deutsche Kammerphilhamonie Bremen, with whom Alondra de la Parra has a close relationship – she was their guest conductor four seasons ago – gave their best in Dvorák’s moving Symphony No. 7. A generally majestic version, but one that lacked that nationalistic and eloquent sense of the ideas embodied in a final movement steeped in popular sentiment against oppression. It was a reading that did touch on the sorrow surrounding the Poco Adagio – motivated by an expressive musical line reflecting the desolation and resignation felt by the composer after the recent death of his mother and first son – and which showed the best side of an orchestra that served up its best moments in this intense movement. A reading that abounded with success in the intense key of D minor and which technically showed a good orchestral work, although we missed a greater heroic intensity in its extreme movements. Great applause for a plethoric Alondra de la Parra and the orchestra, who said goodbye with an expressive interpretation of La leyenda del beso.