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papsrus

Concerts: previews / reviews

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oops/yikes!

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Signed up for a few Proms concerts yesterday. Had a great few days last year there so thought I'd repeat the experience - falls nicely between my two sets of exam results days when I have to be in work (for the last time!):

  • Messiaen: Turangalila and John Foulds Three Mantras
  • Sibelius: Symph 1 & 2
  • Sibelius: 3 + 4 and Violin Concerto
  • Sibelius: 5, 6, 7

Nothing unfamiliar there apart from the Foulds - I usually prefer to have something I'm unfamiliar with. But I've been smitten with Sibelius since he opened my ears to classical music in 1973. So this will be a marvellous wallow.

It took me a couple of hours to get to the top of the online queue. Amazed to see the Rattle performance of Gerontius was already sold out by then, just a couple of hours after tickets going on sale. As I remember last year there were empty seats in most concerts I saw except for the Haitink Mahler 4.

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Just returned from

Music on the Brink of War

Music From Yellow Barn: Pierrot Lunaire with Soprano Lucy Shelton and Songs of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht with Actors Walter Van Dyk and Liza Sadovy

PROGRAM

Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire, Op.21
Weill/Brecht (arr.Michael Haslam): O Moon of Alabama: A Kurt Weill Cabaret

The Weil got a bit hammy towards the end (and moved into Hollywood Weil territory as well, which I thought was a little bit dishonest), but until it did, this was perhaps the damnedest programming in a one-room/one-night setting I've ever experienced. At least that I can remember.

AZnd oh btw - Pierrot Lunaire had a freaking pocket. An irregular, atonal pocket, sure, but I was foot patting and head bobbing pretty much all the way through. Then again, I'm not the most coordinated guy in the room , ever. And maybe if that's how it came off, they played it wrong (badly? wrongly?).

But hello this - people in the audience with flashlights reading the text rather than listening to it and watching the performance (Lucy Shelton was splendid both vocally and theatrically). Eitehr you speak German or you don't (I don't), eitehr you know the words or you don't (again, I don't). But geezdammit, there's msuic being made right there in front of you..THERE is where it is, not on some printed page. I jsut do not understand...

And dig this - there was a lady in a wheelchair with front row seat who must have been at least 142, and she came to hear Pierrot Lunaire! I was like, whoa, she's probably hearing shit in this that I'll NEVER get to. For once, i wished I was a 142 year old lady in a wheelchair.

So,...yeah, one fucking gloriously weirdbeautiful evening.

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Windkraft – Kapelle für Neue Musik, Ensemble

Marcus Weiss, Saxophon

Manuel de Roo, E-Gitarre

Kasper de Roo, Dirigent

PROGRAMM

Edgard Varèse

Intégrales (1924-1925)

Georg Friedrich Haas

… über den Atem, die Stille und die Zerbrechlichkeit …. Versuch (1994)

Arturo Fuentes

In der Luft

Johannes Maria Staud

Violent Incidents (Hommage à Bruce Nauman) (2005-2006)

Iannis Xenakis

Akrata (1964-1965)

Giacinto Scelsi

I presagi (1958)

Very good concert by a wind ensemble (plus a mighty percussion section). The present-day composers' works were so-so, but Varese, Xenakis and Scelsi were outstanding. I have heard them all in recording, but hearing it all live played so well is a different story. Xenakis was quite funky, actually. Wise decision to put Scelsi last - this was a monumental work, it would be hard to find anything to follow it with.

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Mahler 3 at the DSO tonight. About halfway through the first movement it dawned on me that I had yet to hear an uninterrupted (by something) full performance of this piece, so I told my bowels and my bladder to STFU until told otherwise. Fortunately, they heard.

What a splendid experience! Heard them do Mahler 9 last year, and, even with the pretty strong differences of the "mood" of each, they were both performed with a, to me, superb sense of continuity and ensemble balance (the more "classical" music I hear, the more variations in that become noticeable, one of the treats of checking out different versions of the same piece). Nothing made "obvious", yet everything flowed, you knew where you were in even the most unpredictable moments, and when you went someplace else, you knew how you had gotten there, even in the "surprising" moments. Like, sense had already made before it was actually heard. Not that I have any real back-reference for this type of thing, I really don't, so maybe it was all "wrong", but I do know flow when I hear it, I think, and I do know when something happens to disrupt it. Plenty of the former, none of the later, and jesus those last three movements....such sweet deliberateness. The whole thing lasted about 1:45, which I take it is a tad longer than the average, but...slow tempos are my favorite if they got that flow to 'em, it ain't worth the show if it ain't got that flow!

Kudos (of the fwiw variety) for Jaap van Zweden, and kudos to the band for having the occasional fleeting intonation moments and cracked notes yet not leaving the zone because of them, if anything, getting deeper into it, not gonna let this one get away. Live music, nothing like it!

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Sitting in my hotel on vacation here in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. Discovered that just about a block away there is a Puccini concert at 7:00PM every evening. It is in an old church with, as I have been told, excellent acoustics. It is one hour long and features two fine vocalists singing arias. Looking forward to attending a concert in about an hour from now.

This is the birthpace of Puccini, so activities related to him are a significant part of the activities here in Lucca.

Edited by Peter Friedman

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Sitting in my hotel on vacation here in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. Discovered that just about a block away there is a Puccini concert at 7:00PM every evening. It is in an old church with, as I have been told, excellent acoustics. It is one hour long and features two fine vocalists singing arias. Looking forward to attending a concert in about an hour from now.

This is the birthpace of Puccini, so activities related to him are a significant part of the activities here in Lucca.

Man, I am envious. Enjoy!

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The concert I attended last evening was terrific. There was a mezzosoprano and a tenor. Each of them sang 5 numbers, and they did one duet as an encore. The pianist played 2 solo pieces. The music performed was by Puccini, Mozart, Rossini, L. Bernstein, and J. Strauss.

I learned something amazing. The Puccini Festival runs these one hour concerts every single night 365 days a years with no interruptions. Last night the church was full as it was a saturday. Tickets were 20 euros a piece. They have a large number of singers so every concert will have different singers and sing different pieces. So we may attend another concert bfore we leave Lucca.

This was a treat.

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Tonight: (London) Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting, Pierre-Laurent Aimard on piano. Program: Ravel - Pavane (for orchestra), Piano Concerto for the left hand, Stravinsky - Firebird (ballet version). This is fantastic music that I am quite familiar with - heard all of these works live a few times.

Excellent, tight playing by the orchestra, OK playing by Aimard (I have a feeling he got out of sync with the orchestra at one point). A funny touch was the trumpet player hiding somewhere at the balcony playing a solo during Firebird - acoustically this actually worked out well. Dynamic shifts we executed perfectly.

Very enjoyable evening. I was surprised that the concert hall was not full, perhaps at 85% capacity. Might be the heat.

Edited by Д.Д.

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Tonight :

http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/spielplan/Spielplandetail.php?eventid=1401075&month=06&year=2015

THE TEMPEST

Thomas Adès
Thomas Adès | Dirigent
Robert Lepage | Regie
Jasmine Catudal | Bühnenbild
 
Adrian Eröd | Prospero
Audrey Luna | Ariel
Stephanie Houtzeel | Miranda
David Daniels | Trinculo
Thomas Ebenstein | Caliban
Pavel Kolgatin | Ferdinand
Herbert Lippert | King of Naples
Jason Bridges | Antonio
Dan Paul Dumitrescu | Stefano
David Pershall | Sebastian
Sorin Coliban | Gonzalo

Adventurous and stimulating music by Thomas Ades withy an excellent singer cast (Adrian Eröd and Audrey Luna as primus inter pares) ....

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This afternoon:

Jaap van Zweden conducts
Benjamin Beilman, violin

SIBELIUS Violin Concerto
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1

I've yet to hear anybody play the opening of the Brahms the way that Horenstein did, Horenstein pulled all kinds of darkness and dissonance out of it. Everybody else I've heard, not so much. Here's to hope for today!

Thursday evening:

Jaap van Zweden conducts

BRUCKNER Symphony No. 5

My first live Bruckner, looking forward to it.

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van Zweden did not get out of his band what Horenstein did his, but I have the feeling that he wasn't trying to. What he did get was nice enough, maybe a bit lacking in "edge" but compensated enough for with a really good feel for transition passages, this group is really playing together these days, looking forward to a whole season's worth. Recordings might bore me, but live shows, where it's totally a Dolphy-an "and then it's gone" thing, not bad at all, although...is an orchestra prone to coasting on a day game following a night game?

No charge or hassle for swapping our Saturday night seats for much better seats today in the same price category, and if you want to get better seats on any night, your price differential is based on subscriber, not list, price. I'm looking ahead already, and the options are many...

Benjamin Beilman was a sub for Midori, who's apparently under doctor's orders not to travel, and, geez, the kid's only 25, and he's going for it right now. Perhaps lacking a bit of "star power" in his gestures, but you know me, that's not what I'm there for, and I think he played his ass off. Definitely got a higher ceiling, sure, but I dug him. My first time knowingly hearing the Sibelius piece, but hasn't that opening of the 3rd movement been adapted for Swing Era at some point? Sure sounded familiar, and for a few bars, the violin/tympani thing put me in mind of Krupa/Carnegie Hall Swingx3, and I was like, oh geez, are these feelings appropriate? and no, probably not, but personal chronology gonna do what personal chronology do.

I read where the DSO is making a "European Tour"in April 2016, and...how/why is that happening? Does Europe (whatever that means) need to hear the DSO? I mean, it's pretty much what we got here, and, yeah, they're moving ahead nicely, fun to be around that, but...Or is this some kind of conductor-pimping? I have NO idea what the business side of this type of thing looks, like, but...do, say, Russian bluegrass bands tour Kentucky and West Virginia? And if so, again, how? Why?

Oh well, show business!

One more sweet deal about subscribing - apparently the Brucker is a "bonus" concert for subscribers, meaning that it's not included in your 14 concert package, but you can get ANY available ticket for just $10.00. We got primo seats that list at significantly more than that for ten each, because, as the phone rep said, "you're a subscriber, we need for y'all to stay happy". I wanted to say, hey lady, I'm eating off your dollar menu, not sure if that qualifies me as a "regular customer", but then again, hell, I AM a subscriber, it's not like y'all GAVE me this shit, right? So, yeah, good attitude, DSO, and points scored for the whole "accessibility" PR thing. I guess that endowment shit only goes so far.

So I would say, if you live in an area that has a group you think you might enjoy hearing on a regular-ish basis, ask about more than just ticket price. DSO be perk-ing their asses off in that regard. Figuring in free parking, we're getting guaranteed seats that would at face value, for two, cost about 60 bucks for less than half of that, 14 + change per ticket + 10 bucks of free parking, plus incredibly user-friendly seat-shifting ability.

Now, if I can just talk my wife into going to an opera, just one, just once...I think I'm ready, but not ready enough to go solo. Yet.

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Thursday evening:

Jaap van Zweden conducts

BRUCKNER Symphony No. 5

My first live Bruckner, looking forward to it.

That should be something! ...  For me there's a general sense with Bruckner of always working toward some resolution but never quite getting there, as if walking some narrow cliffside path where you're not quite sure if you'll plummet into the canyon or arrive at that sweeping, open pasture you keep catching glimpses of along the way. He also plays around with volume quite a bit, luring you into leaning forward and cupping your ear, then hitting you broadside, full blast. Live, it should be an experience. Might want to have a glass of brandy on hand afterward to steady yourself. 

 

 

(...)

I read where the DSO is making a "European Tour"in April 2016, and...how/why is that happening? Does Europe (whatever that means) need to hear the DSO? I mean, it's pretty much what we got here, and, yeah, they're moving ahead nicely, fun to be around that, but...Or is this some kind of conductor-pimping? I have NO idea what the business side of this type of thing looks, like, but...do, say, Russian bluegrass bands tour Kentucky and West Virginia? And if so, again, how? Why?

Oh well, show business!

(...)

 

I think these tours can be real money-makers, once an orchestra has established a reputation -- and I'd guess Dallas is somewhere in that mix. Plus the more you put yourself out there, the more of a reputation you build. 

A friend of my dad's who is involved somehow with the Concert Association that brings orchestras here for one-off whistle stops says the cost can be sizable. I forget the exact amount they're paying the Cleveland Orchestra to perform here this winter, but I believe it's well into the low-six figures -- $200K maybe, for one performance -- plus food and lodging, etc., and probably the cost of flying them here, as well as the insurance, all covered. I'd guess it varies depending on the artists. I read recently Carnegie doesn't divulge what it pays performers so as not to create bidding wars among them. But the big boys get paid handsomely. 

 

 

Not a concert, but I went to a lunchtime performance outside my office the other day by two accomplished young graduates of the Perlman Music Program, an instructional thing he holds here every spring for young musicians from around the country/world. Violist Molly Carr and pianist Yannick Rafallimanana performed what they characterized as an extremely abridged version of Romeo and Juliet, but it was more like excerpts. Carr provided some commentary about the music prior to each number, which was nice.

A nice, light, casual outdoor lunchtime performance. Enjoyed it.

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Just as there is no clock in baseball, there was no clock in Bruckner.

That might seem absurd, but, really, this was not the work of a man who was concerned with a timely summation or any other urgengy-induced need to finish. There's a repetitive, almost OCD like return to themes, not because the themes need to be reexamined, but because Bruckner himself seems to have had a need to reexamine them, to make sure they're where he left them, don't want to Home Alone them, get on the plane and realize you've left one behind. I was reminded of watching a baseball game from before the days when they were all on TV, how things would take their time, how pitchers and hitters both went through all their rituals, you know, those really quirky guys who got weird with it almost, over and over and over, and there wouldn't be any action until there was and then BOOM, YES there was action, and then...back to the rituals.

Now, imagine a baseball game that not only was not on TV, but was not on radio, and did not have scoreboard entertainment, or Pavlovian pretend organ or any of that stuff, just baseball being played unhurriedly, no pressure to anything, really. Just start the game early enough to beat sundown. People used to be able to live like that, I'm told. Especially when was there was no baseball, espcially in places that were not even thinking about getting it.

So, no real sense of urgency to complete, a lot of looking back to look forward, god, a continuous head count, how annoying is that?

Well, it could be really annoying, but, geez, I think Bruckner might have had some kind of OCD, really, but OCD brilliant is still brilliant, and I heard nothing but brilliance in this piece. Slow to unfold, but no lags, no stalling, everything moving forward in its own sweet way, no fat at all. If you didn't know what the themes were by the time it was over, it's not because they weren't put into play every freakin' second. Amazing, just amazing, that somebody could sustain it for that lengthy of a piece, never mind move it ahead that far for that long.

I don't know if it's amazing that an orchestra could sustain it for that long, I mean, that's their job, but I gotta say, the DSO was always, always moving the thing ahead, and there were a few passages where I was thinking that this is a good place to get listener fatigue, I can afford to take a break for a second or two, but they did not allow for that. I know that Bruckner didn't allow for that, but how many times have you found yourself momentarily, just momentarily, 2-3 seconds tops, taking a break while listening and then picking up where you left off? Some things will let you do that, either in the writing or in the performance. Sometimes both. Not Bruckner, and not the DSO. Not that, not tonight.

I'm beginning to get a feel for the "real" van Zwedin, and that seems to be that above all else, he values flow, blend, and precise dynamics. Sometimes the "edges" seem like they're being rounded off, but that seems to be more of a conscious choice than a basic blandness, although, it also seems like this works better on some things than on others. Tonight, it really worked. I really don't have any real reference point for this work, but there were points where it seemed like there could have been more "drama", but it was like a river in that way, just keep on flowing, the undercurrents not letting down for one second, literally. I think it's sometimes easy to confuse drama with movement. The band played with tremendous unity, both rhythmically and with dynamics. The drama was more in the cumulative movement than in any one specific moment, and, really, that seems appropriate for the material.

Anyway, this might well be the most ignorant thing I've ever written, not at all qualified to give anything but personal impressions with no objective reference points, but all I can say is that yo, Bruckner quietly mad genius?, and yo, van Zweden, keep making me glad to leave the house and do battle with Central to get there.

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Bruckner 5 is my favourite Bruckner piece. The double fugue in the last movement is extraordinary. And there's a little falling flute melody in the first movement part way through that always turns me to mush. 

I got so obsessed with Bruckner that I even visited his grave many years back!

4480_135999292419.jpg

It's in St. Florian near Linz. Check your local bus schedules. 

I came to him on the back of Mahler - they were often grouped together in the 'Idiots Guide to Classical Music' equivalent I was using to find ny way in the 70s (I think I started with the Pears Encyclopaedia. Well they share a lot (huge pieces [which suited a listener to 4 side prog rock opuses], extending out of Wagner and Romanticism) but in other ways are quite different. All of Bruckner's symphonies, whatever their individual differences, seem to come from a similar sound world; whereas with Mahler he seems to invite in a different cast of characters every time. 

Must see a live Bruckner myself soon. The last one was an 8th in Innsbruck by a stunningly good Austrian youth orchestra on the same trip as the grave visit [I also made a detour to see Mahler's house in Klagenfurt and inadvertently ended up on a nudist camp site...but that's another tale...].  

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Bruckner's grave to Mahler's house to a nudist camp?

Please chart that progression for us, Bev, please! :g

I've long known the sensory difference between live and recorded music, as well as the possibility for different emotional things to happen, but for something like this, I really don't think there's a substitute for sitting in a big hall with a good orchestra playing well and getting pretty much literally enveloped by the sound. Even the best record players are used at home, right? Even with headphones and eyes closed, getting totally out of that "enclosed" feeling tends to require drugs or meditation or cognitive dissonance or....it's just easier to go buy a ticket, ya' know?

Not a question of "better", just of "different".

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Driving from Germany to Vienna, St Florian was on the way so I paid a visit. After Vienna I went to Salzburg (more Mahler connections in the lakes) and was heading for Innsbruck and just decided to pay a visit to the Klagenfurt site. It turned out to be much further than I'd expected with a few inconvenient Alps en route so I got there quite late. Having seen the hut (which was shut) I hunted around for a camp site.

Eventually found one and in pigeon German booked in. Drove through the gate and as the barrier went down behind me noticed that 2/3rds of the people there had no clothes on. Put up tent and collapsed in laughter inside. 

My abiding memory is walking up a sloped path to the loos and seeing a row of bottoms with a trestle table the other side. As I carried on I could see that on the table were all sorts of interesting looking sausages and on the other side a fully clothed chap with a large cleaver. Just as well it wasn't an attractive woman! 

The silliest thing is that the site was part of a large naturist organisation which is well known across Austria and Germany. Had the equivalent of a large yellow M outside. 

Needless to say I was out of there the moment the barrier was unlocked at 6.00 a.m. the next morning. I needed Bruckner 8 in Innsbruck to recover! 

I made the mistake of telling the story at work when I got back and never lived it down. 

***********************

My take on live concerts is different. Most of my life has been spent listening to recorded music with live music the exception. I like going to live classical concerts but prefer them to have at least one piece I don't know. Can't say I experience any greater intensity in the live performance...though the sense of occasion and expectation adds a certain frission. The two things I do like is the way you are forced to concentrate - no distractions like getting up to make a cup of tea or check e-mails; and, above all, the visual clues to what is going on in the music. I particularly remember a performance of the Eroica in Cambridge a few years back where I had a centre seat - following the two sets of violins, the violas and cellos with my eyes really drew me into the music. Even listening to familiar pieces (like the complete Sibelius symphonies I enjoyed in the summer) can be ear opening - I often find I'm expecting a particular theme and am quite struck by what is playing it...never noticed that was played by an oboe before! 

My next classical jaunt is Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw' at Snape Maltings, the centre of the Britten industry in about a week. My favourite Britten opera - I've seen it done before by Opera North but will happily revisit it, especially if the weather is good. An afternoon walk in the reed beds around the concert hall is utterly magical.  

  

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Tonight at DSO:

Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts
Pepe Romero, guitar

RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole
RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez
- Intermission
FRANCK Symphony in D minor

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The Ravel was neat, wasn't sure about it until the final movement, and then it all came together.

The Rodrigo...no doubt a cliche by now, but with good reason, what a marvelous work! The two outer movements are relatively unfamiliar to me, so I really enjoyed hearing them. But that Adagio...hearing it in this form, and then comparing it to what Gil did with it...in both cases, genius, I think, Rodrigo of composing, Gil of re-orchestrating and re-composing. More cliches...anyway, Romero was almost consistently brilliant, with a few overt flubs along the way, oh well, shit happens, nobody bats 1.000. Marvelous material exquisitely performed.

Then the intermission, and then the Franck, and I don't know what the hell that was all about...I stifled my laughter, but...I get that it's some German/French fusion to begin with, but the rigidity and seemingly upper end selections of Tortelier's tempos left no room to contemplate any ambiguity or find any moments for reflections, it was almost like a metronome was conducting, and just a tad too fast at that. The third movement, hell, it almost sounded like Scott Joplin, and I was like, how is this happening?

I'll willingly concede that maybe I just don't have the frame of reference for this interpretation, or, for that matter, the familiarity with the basic work to know but that maybe this was not a great interpretation of it. All I know is that it sounded funny, not in the odd or off way, it sounded comical to me, and I do not think that was the intent.

van Zweden's time, as I'm coming to be familiar with it, is all about letting an idea reveal itself though contour, and his conducting is very much in line with that. Watching him for time is not something you're going to do unless you're already inside the music, and then, you're not looking at him for meter, you're looking at him for shape and direction. Watching Tortelier did not present that challenge!

This more...literal concept of time worked well in the first half, perhaps because the music was probably(?) better served by that approach. I kept trying to decide whether Franck's piece was much ado about nothing, too much of not enough, or just what the hell WAS it, anyway, and finally decided that it could have been more than the conducting let it be, but also that no matter who conducted it how, there was gonna be just so much to get out of it. his is one of those pieces I'm just going to let pass, unless somebody can make a convincing case that God Lives Here, and then provides the record to prove it.

OTOH, the DSO played exquisitely tonight, wonderful dynamics, no moments of imprecision, even momentarily, of either pitch or intonation. and their ensemble sound shifted appropriately form piece to piece, delightfully transparent for the Ravel, a little heavier (even with a smaller orchestra!) yet balanced with the soloist on the Rodrigo, and full on heavy for the Germanic (I guess that's what I'd call it) concept/implications/whatever of the Franck. so kudos to Tortelier on that count, and really guest conductor, not sure what rehearsal time was, so maybe the tempo thing was a matter of necessity. It "sounded good", and, really, I was not at all irked, just...quizzically amused, and highly entertained by what sure seemed to have been an entertainment-oriented program and presentation anyway.

And Pepe Romero, quite the audience friendly performer!

Can't say this enough - I really wish I had started doing this decades ago, just going out to hear classical music locally. Watching people play is about the most interesting thing I know, except for being the one doing the playing, and even then, that's not always fun. This almost always is.

And oh yeah, different conductors of the same band, what a trip!

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Not familiar with Franck at all. Your comments had me looking around a bit, including a review of Thursday's concert by Scott Cantrell in the Dallas Morning News, who described the piece as the most Wagnerian of French symphonies. (That German-French fusion thing. I'm getting more interested now!) Cantrell didn't give it a lot of ink but seemed to agree there were some problems. A tricky piece, it seems. 

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I've never really connected with Franck...apart from the violin sonata. He lies in that mid-to-late 19thC area that I find difficult to relate to. But the violin sonata is beautiful (and I'm not one to prioritise chamber music). Can't recall exactly but I there's an outline of the structure of the sonata on Wikipaedia that I found very useful the last time I listened.  

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1 hour ago, papsrus said:

Not familiar with Franck at all. Your comments had me looking around a bit, including a review of Thursday's concert by Scott Cantrell in the Dallas Morning News, who described the piece as the most Wagnerian of French symphonies. (That German-French fusion thing. I'm getting more interested now!) Cantrell didn't give it a lot of ink but seemed to agree there were some problems. A tricky piece, it seems. 

Wow, he found the tempos too slow! Maybe Thursday was too slow for Tortelier and he's still looking for the right tempo...if that happened, he got it too fast for my taste last night, unless he was going for the comedic. Maybe I should try to sneak in for the matinee today and see what he comes up with! :g

I love how classical folks talk about "ear-splitting intensity" when it comes to volume. Give me a break!

This was interesting, though:

This was doubly a problem in tunes already flirting at the edge of vulgarity.

"Vulgarity" is not at all a term I'd use, but "light" certainty is. What i said earlier about there maybe not being enough "meat" in the music...I don't think it benefits from as "germanic" interpretation as it got.

This is also revealing:

But for an orchestra accustomed to music director Jaap van Zweden's micromanagement...

Ok, this is where I really don't know where/what I might be stepping into, but I very much enjoy van Zweden's "micromanagement" and could have used it on the Franck. van Zweden does indeed break a piece down to its details and the reassembles it with those details noted and performed with an ear towards micro detail to serve a macro end. Unless it's a piece or a part of a piece that really, explicitly needs it, you're not going to get too much foot-patting 4/4 or easy swaying 3/4 out of van Zwedin's conducting, but you are going to get some powerful pulses, and some really nifty transitional sections. Maybe not all players like having to work that hard, and/or maybe not all of them feel comfortable with that aesthetic in general, I could see that being an issue for a certain type of player.

Speaking for myself, a listener who was never really attracted to that older aesthetic, I am coming to really like this guy's concept.I have heard that a few of the more veteran orchestra members do not, and you know, sometimes musicians and critics will get in with each other and share agendas...and honestly, I don't know that a regular DSO patron is going to be able to tell the difference too much between one of van Zwedin's taffy pulls or something like Tortelier's metronmic read-through (a bit oversimplied, that, but part of the issue I had with it was that there were obvious transition section that were just plowed through with no consideration of meaning or direction or eventual destination...I'm tempted to think that rehearsal time was limited and that there was no interest on anybody's part to spend a lot of paid time on getting into things that would complicate the performance,,,just read that sucker down, note this here and that there, but otherwise, make it "sound good" for the people and we all get paid, right?

Whatever it was, it was still entertaining to experience, although not in the same way that van Zweden's reading might have been.

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28 minutes ago, JSngry said:

... Speaking for myself, a listener who was never really attracted to that older aesthetic, I am coming to really like this guy's concept. I have heard that a few of the more veteran orchestra members do not, and you know, sometimes musicians and critics will get in with each other and share agendas...

Yeah, I think you're onto something here. I sat next to a couple at a performance of Beethoven's No. 3 by the Cleveland Orchestra with Music Director Franz Welser-Möst on the baton last winter, and this couple shared that they knew someone who knew someone (their daughter knew someone in the orchestra) who said some of the veterans didn't like Welser-Most's heavy hand. Yet he is very highly regarded among patrons and his peers, I believe. 

I recall reading that when Welser-Most first came to the orchestra, there was a music critic at the Plain Dealer who was highly critical of him, hammering away at whatever deficiencies he saw in an endless drumbeat. He was eventually laid off by the newspaper. Or took early retirement. Or something like that. Agreed to disagree and part ways. But I got the sense he had allegiances to the old guard and/or was giving voice to internal discontent. And I think there was a certain amount of turnover in the orchestra in the wake of Welser-Most taking over. Not uncommon with new management, no matter what your profession. 

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