Skip to main content

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall

It was billed as a "Warm Up Event". But I think it was to do with contracts signed prior to the discovery of asbestos at the Royal Festival Hall which added six months to the renovation programme.


Gustavo Dudamel conducted the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Strauss Four Last Songs and Mahler 5th. The band made a good sound tough the upper strings were a bit subdue (or was it the Hall?) The Four Last Songs were a bit fast to my liking - and it was only Beim Schlafengehen where I felt the tempo was right. Measha Brueggergosman sang relatively well, though her BIG HAIR was in the way of the sound projection.


Mahler 5th was thunderous and supple at the same time - the latter much helped by the strong viola and lower string section. It was exciting and forward but could do with a bit more rubati. Otherwise it was an enjoyable evening out at this much loved venue.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Joyce DiDonato sings Berlioz at BBC Proms

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique started this BBC Proms concert with Le corsaire - it was tightly played and a sonorous sound. I wonder whether this was due to the whole orchestra standing up while playing had anything to do with it. It sounded good.

Joyce DiDonato first sang La mort de Cléopâtre - her performance was mesmerising due to her dramatic delivery of text and the wonderful lines. Sir John was ever sensitive to the flow of the music. Dido’s death scene was short, yet no less powerful with DiDonata's breadth of emotions. Some may moan about her over dramatic delivery at the expense of pitch accuracy - but that's just nitpicking.

The second half of the concert was Harold in Italy - a whimsical and eclectic piece that's interesting to listen to - but I wonder whether this should have been played in the 1st half of the concert.

Poème symphonique, British Museum

Now how often does one get to hear Ligeti's "joke" Poème symphonique? It came about recently at the British Library. Or rather, it was performed in the old British Library reading room. 100 metronomes arranged neatly on a platform, lit, and poised to commence. After a short introduction, a small team of museum staff flicked the metronomes and the performance started. It was a cacophony of sound echoed by the reading room's unique acoustic. It's strangely mesmerizing and hypnotic. From time to time, some metronomes came together into unison, and then dissipated. It had an organic quality to it. If one ever wondered, it took about 25 minutes until the last remaining metronome on Largo came to a stop. It was fun!

From the House of the Dead, the Royal Opera

Janáček's From the House of the Dead was not going to be an "easy listening" piece. The drama was intense and claustrophobic - perhaps that's intentional. Unlike Káťa Kabanová or Jenůfa where there was a greater story arc, The House was more choppy - including two plays within the opera. All in all a very intense evening.