Saturday, March 15, 2008

New concert, new audience

Well, partially new - the Rimsky-Korsakoff Sheherazade we hear about once every two years at the Vilnius Filharmonija - the sheet music is so much used, it's well patched and very very fragile.

Tonight's concert by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the talented Robertas Servenikas, began with Joaquin Turina's Fantastic Dances. To be honest, it was a bit of misprogramming in Vilnius, seeing as last night, at the other concert hall, we had heard effectively Ravel's Spanish Dances (ok Rhapsody), and at one stage I wondered, did they only ever have one dance in Spain? I am sure the same material was used for at least one of the dances. Turina (1882 to 1949), has a very short entry in Wikipedia, as is that in my dictionary of music....The piece was quite nice, if you like that sort of thing, but rather cliche-y and full of lush upper strings; sort of Hollywood meets sanitised Spain. Maybe I just had enough of Spain in two evenings running. Again, it did not feel all that Spanish, but it may have been the nature of the written music rather than the interpretation.

Nestor Marconi had come all the way from Argentina to play Piazzola's Bandoneon Concerto. This was a bit of inspired programming on behalf of the Filharmonija - it got people into the concert hall who you don't often see, especially young people. Great move, Ruta! In fact, the hall was packed - and they got a better deal for their money than last night. This was lovely; he communicated beautifully with the orchestra (which may have been a little leaden, not quite in the spirit of Piazzola), but he did his best to pull them along - if they had lifted their noses from the music from time to time it would have been grand; but it's not normal run-of-the-mill repertoire. It's a nice piece, and we could hear the bandoneon quite well - myself, I thought it was due to the amplification (seeing as one time he leaned over to one side and the thing suddenly started to roar), though my friends tell me that 'experts' said to them that the microphones were for the broadcast. The loudspeakers either side of the stage must have been just for decoration in that case.....

He added two encores, one seemed like a Piazzola medley - I recognized several of his themes, and then another piece, much loved by the audience. Got a standing ovation. I wondered about the breadth of the bandoneon repertoire - it must be even more limited than the viola repertoire....

Finally, every year again comes 'Sheherazade'. Many of the young people were still in the audience and may have got exposure to music they don't usually listen to; this is quite a good piece for that. The violin soloist played well, mostly, as did the cello leader. The lead clarinetist deserves much praise. I wonder if more risk could have been taken with tempi, elasticating them more (in all pieces this evening) - that would have made it more interesting. But much fun was had, much scraping was done and the audience was happy.


Anni said...

Thought yo might not have seen the guardian review of Alex Ross today so here is the link http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2265397,00.html

My daughter is doing a course called modernity and postmodernity (in music) this semester and says the book could have been written as the perfect text.
If you get any opportunities to make suggestions we have an amzing string quartet in Sheffield now, plus wider ensemble, in the wake of the Lindsays who retriered two years ago. Quartet is the Elias and the full ensemble of 10 is called Ensemble 360. They are superb - young and so vibrant. Just done a Scubert weekend and playing Haydn's 7 last words on Friday - this for free which makes church going into something else...

Best wishes

violainvilnius said...

Wow, this is a vastly better review than the guardian had a few weeks ago, when I reviewed the review here http://violainvilnius.blogspot.com/2008/02/did-he-actually-read-book.html

I'm trying to get the book read by the end of next week, but have managed to procrastinate like crazy today. It's also good for my music studies, though,after postponing an essay until I got home, to be able to quote from it, in the end I did not need it. Enjoy the Haydn - we get it in Vilnius every Palm Sunday; though here He speaks Lithuanian.