This very interesting concert from Lucerne done by the now famous Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela gives much insight in how fast they've learned a lot. Conducted by Claudio Abbado - who does so much with and for youth orchestras (Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra etc.) - it's a very challenging programme with a blockbuster (Tchaikofsky's 6th) and some of the 20th century most interesting works: the Lulu suite from Alban Berg. It's fascinating how these youthful players can manage to learn so much repertoire (they do Mahler 1 and 5, Shostakovitch 10, Beethoven 5 and 7 with ease and skill) in so short a time. Their energy drips of this DVD. They attack the music as you don't see with the riper and older symphony orchestra. Abbado's coaching is clearly visible and he encourages the players now and then to play somewhat louder or softer; orchestral balance is only to be learned in practice! For me it's also very interesting to see and hear that violas are placed at the right hand of the conductor and that makes the orchestral balance much more dynamic.
In the wind instruments Tchaikofsky's 6th has been scored for 3 Flutes (3rd doubling Piccolo), 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 3 Trombones; I don't know why this performance needs 8 horns and 4 Trumpets. Was it to add weight to the interpretation (considering the amount of strings isn't strengthened) or did Abbado think 4 youthful hornists can't blow forceful enough or they must have thought `we came to Europe with 8 horn players so let's give them playing time'? The recording doesn't give a clou; in the normal Dolby-mode it stays a little flat as with many other orchestral DVD's.
The only question that remains for me is: how is het possible that in a country - obviously (but also objectively?) poorer than mine - youth seems to have so much interest in classical music? Why don't we have an internationally renowned youth orchestra over here too, taken up by one of our star conductors?