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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:27 am    Post subject: Live Concert Review Reply with quote

I thought that it would be useful to create a thread devoted to concerts that we have been fortunate enough to attend. Its great to talk about music and particularly JS, its great to play Cds etc but nothing beats a live performance, will the orchestra be on form, will the conductor deliver. This evening its the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester for me in a programme of Elgar, R. Strauss and Sibelius. Its going to be a nice way of celebrating my 20th Wedding anniversary! I will get back with my review. Smile kp

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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy anniversary! Smile

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks Andrew- Smile


Mad Due to public transport disruption we arrived at the concert 15 minutes late, missing the first item [Elgars evergreen Introduction and Allegro for Strings] The conductor Edward Gardner was recieving warm applause as we took our seats, somewhat stressed out! Fortunatly the whole of the second half was devoted to Sibelius so we calmed down to the rich autumnal strains of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs. The American soprano Katie van Kooten was in fine voice and the Halle strings gave a ravishing accompaniment. This is the first time I have really listened intently to Strauss's swansong and it made a nice impression. Now time for a drink before another fantastic swansong in the second half!- Very Happy

Nightride and Sunrise is a work very close to my heart, composed in 1908, it was premiered in January 1909, Alexander Siloti giving a notoriously lack-lustre account in St Petersburg. Sibelius's comments about the work sum up the drama well : 'the music is concerned...with the inner experiences of an average man riding solitary through the forest gloom; sometimes glad to be alone with nature; occasionally awe-stricken by the stillness or the strange sounds which break it, not filled with undue foreboding, but thankful and rejoicing in the daybreak'. It was facinating to experience Sibelius's fantastic use of percussion, depicting the patter of the horse, used too with great economy and how much more effective than many a 'kitchen sink' drama! Edward Gardner is a thoughtful Sibelian and following that shadowy ride with hints of Tapio lurking in the shadows, the Sunrise was filled with a pantheistic wonder, the Halle brass in fine form and remarkably warm sounding brass from Sibelius. Nightride never fails to move my soul.

Edward Gardner and the Halle now delivered a powerful account of Sibelius's Fifth Symphony. Sibelius is pretty much in this orchestra's blood. Hans Richter gave the UK premiere of the Second in Manchester in 1905 and of course Barbirolli is legendary. Gardner paced the opening movement well with all sections of the orchestra on there toes. Richard Strauss once remarked 'never encourage the brass' Gardner certainly did this at the conclusion of the movement. Is their anything more thrilling than Sibelius in full cry? After a peaceful second movement with particulary fine horn playing, the Finale carried all before it. From the very opening of the Symphony we seem to have been moving towards this final climax. This is first and foremost music to be heard on its own account. Sadly in our modern society, music as become increasingly subordinate to film, documentary's and even adverts. Here was music above and beyond our mundane life and as the final hammar blows subsided, we all knew that we had witnessed something special.--kp

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kullervopete wrote:
Is their anything more thrilling than Sibelius in full cry?


No.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tapkaara wrote:
kullervopete wrote:
Is their anything more thrilling than Sibelius in full cry?


No.


I'm thinking that this should be the (double?) quote of the moment! Haha. Brilliant!

How I would love to see Sibelius "in full cry" someday! Just to hear it is thrilling enough in itself, but the full-blooded glory of an orchestra in a concert hall just makes everything else seem so much less.
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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually did consider QoMing Tapkaara's contribution but that would create a dangerous precedence which would certainly spawn dozens of one-line hopefuls in its wake...

A fine review, kullervopete, I especially marvel at the "courage" it took to programme Night Ride and the 5th Symphony together in the second half of a concert. Not so much because of the length, it still clocks in at well under an hour... it's more a challenge of concentration and focus for conductor, orchestra and audience alike.

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kurkikohtaus wrote:


A fine review, kullervopete, I especially marvel at the "courage" it took to programme Night Ride and the 5th Symphony together in the second half of a concert. Not so much because of the length, it still clocks in at well under an hour... it's more a challenge of concentration and focus for conductor, orchestra and audience alike.


Yes, for many years Night Ride was something of a rarity both on disc and in the concert hall, yet I have been fortunate enough to here the piece 'live' around half a dozen times in the last 12 years. More than any other of the symphonic poems!--kp

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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, another concert review.

Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite 1
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2

LPO / Tadaaki Otaka (with Matthew Trusler, violin)

Brighton Dome, 18th April 2009

The LPO visits Brighton a few times each season and it's by no means unusual for some Sibelius to be included. In the past, however, I've often had the feeling that the players were doing their duty rather than enjoying themselves, and the dismal acoustics of the Dome don't help (the hall imparts a dull, lumpy sound in which many details are lost and a good balance is very hard to achieve).

Fortunately this time the orchestra was on good form. Strings were clean and full-toned, woodwind were consistent and rather tidy and the brass were rich and as sonorous as the hall allowed. I'd make special mention of the timpani - incisive and clean without being tasteless - and the double basses, whose sound was especially clear and effective.

As for the performances: the Grieg and Tchaikovsky were both very decent - the soloist very efficient but a bit self-effacing for my tastes. The Second Symphony was triumphant. Tadaaki Otaka's interpretation (for it is just that - no mere epigone) adheres to many of the traditions that have grown up over the years but completely avoided cliché and routine. How did he achieve this? By a very skilful control of rubato (sufficient to bring life but not enough to be distracting) and a faultless sense of balance between the orchestral sections. I've noticed with other Japanese musicians, too, that their rubato seems entirely appropriate for Sibelius's music. Tempi (for what it's worth - music is not about speed alone): first movement average; slow movement average/fast, scherzo average/fast, finale average/slow. Correct variant of clarinet part played in IV/120. Standard timpani in the coda (no Koussevitzky variations here). Otaka conducted clearly and often elegantly and I formed the impression - rightly or wrongly - that the players liked and respected him.

Two unrelated and as such minor incidents made the evening memorable for me on a personal level. Firstly I was genuinely gratified on the bus ride home to hear other passengers whistling and humming the finale of the symphony (I'm assuming they had also been at the concert!). And secondly we dropped in at Brighton's Finnish bar, where normally they play hard rock (either pre-recorded or sometimes, I think, live). It wasn't busy when we went in but I could only rejoice when the barman - who is fully aware of my tastes - took off the rock music and put on a CD of Finlandia. Now that's what I call service!

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounded like a great night Andrew, I've heard Tadaaki Otaka conduct Sibelius 2 a number of times with the BBC Orchestra of Wales and he has always impressed, with a big finale in the Barbirolli tradition. Nice that some people were whistling snatches of the music after the concert. I've actually walked out of a concert humming bits of the Fourth Symphony Surprised kp

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never hear Otaka conduct Sibelius, though I have a disc of him conducting works by Japanese composers. Is he generally thought as a "Sibelian?"

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not been aware of Tadaka Otaka conducting any other Sibelius other than the second symphony. He may well have programmed other Sibelius works, he was after all chief conductor of the Tokyo P. O. for 20 years before taking up his post with the BBC Orchestra of Wales. He has certainly not recorded any Sibelius to date, a look at his discography reveals the Rachmaninov symphonies and concertos, some Takemitsu and a Glazunov cycle. I would be interested to know if he as programmed any Ifukube.-kp

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kullervopete wrote:
Nice that some people were whistling snatches of the music after the concert.

I always have wondered about that, how often and to what degree does the attending public remember the various melodies that they heard in a concert? How does this change when it is a work that is new to them vs. one which they have heard on recording?

I ask because admittedly although I am a musician, I often do not remember specific tunes to any extent if I am hearing the piece for the first time... maybe little snippets, but certainly not whole phrases. I retain more of an overall impression of the character of the piece and its feeling.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opening up the discussion a little, I suppose it can be embarrasing for all concerned when their is an outbreak of applause before the music as actually ended. This is not very common among seasoned concert goers but I have witnessed it. Nearly as off-putting as applauding individual movements.--kp

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm actually pretty good at remembering tunes in works I've only heard once. But it has to be a "tune." In other words, if it's just rhetoric with falling and rising pitches strung together seemingly at random, I will be much less apt to remember it to hum it or whistle it.

But I guess that would be the case for most people.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently Schoenberg of all people aspired to write a tune that could be sung in the bath. Surprised -kp

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you are supposed to sing/hum/whistle Schonberg sitting on the loo after having too much Indian tandoori.

(Loo...how British of me!)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kullervopete wrote:
Opening up the discussion a little, I suppose it can be embarrasing for all concerned when their is an outbreak of applause before the music as actually ended. This is not very common among seasoned concert goers but I have witnessed it. Nearly as off-putting as applauding individual movements.--kp


I remember being at a concert of Paavo Jarvi's with the Cincinnati SO. They were doing Tormis' second overture, which is really very intense. A final chord was driven into the end, and the audience started clapping... Paavo turned around with about the most furious look imaginable on his face and banged out the REAL last chord to the orchestra behind him. Goodness, did he look angry...

kullervopete wrote:
Apparently Schoenberg of all people aspired to write a tune that could be sung in the bath. Surprised -kp


Um... maybe as one is drowning...
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love it when conductors show their rage to the audience.

A few years ago I saw Carmina Burana at the Hollywood Bowl. Leonard Slatkin conducting the LA Phil. In between each section, the audience burst into loud applause. About halfway through the performance, it's like Slatkin could not take it anymore. The audience started applauding and the just put his hands donw by his sides and I swear he stood like that for two minutes. The audience went dead silent. After the not-so-brief pause, he started conducting again. You could tell he was getting irritated.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here in Manchester the famous Halle Orchestra is in pretty good shape thanks to chief conductor Mark Elder, and maestro Elder is a Sibelian to boot. Over the last few years I have been at quite a few of Elders concerts and now and again the maestro has spoken to the audience for 5 minutes or so about the piece and composer to be played. I think that more conductors should do this. Besides informing the paying public about the music, a rapport is established which contributes to the evenings performance. To often conductors can come across as elitist and remote figures.-kp

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, Pete.

I saw the SD Symphony do a performance of Handel's glorious Music for the Royal Fireworks. We had a guest conductor from England whose name escapes me at the moment. Anyway, after the famous (and rousing!) overture, of course, the audience erupted into applause. The conductor turned to the audience with a warm grin and said "If you thought that was good, there is much more!" The audience laughed and he turned right around and went into the next movement. He was obviously a man of good humor...and a good conductor as well.

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