Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thank you, Verdi!

An hour after I came home after last night's dreadful concert, 3sat rescued me from my musical depression with Verdi's requiem (I know, I know...hardly cheery), performed by the wonderful Semyon Bychkov with his WDR Rundfunk Orchestra, no less than three choirs, and a group of soloists including our very own Violeta Urmana (who has not sung much in Vilnius recently).

That was a passionate performance, though even here the Dies Irae, my most favourite part of it (offering plenty of scope for amateur psychologists) was not as harsh or biting Abbado's available on youtube. But otherwise, like much of Verdi's other music, it is really rather ice cream music, no? That part where the soprano and alto sing an octave apart - oy vey - and there are some other similar places, too. Probably perfect, though, for an outpouring of grief at perhaps a peak time for emotion in music writing. Only a day or two before I had thought about anger in music, and about Mozart's Dies Irae. His is a much more refined kind of anger - but he was limited by the style of music writing available to him. I wonder what his audience might have said had he plonked Verdi's Dies Irae into the middle of his requiem (and he might have had good reason, too....).

The concert was broadcast from the Cologne Philharmonic, which seems to be a very new hall - apparently the size of a football stadium? The three choirs were all easily accommodated in what seemed like the gods about a mile from the conductor. Presumably the wiring for recordings was pre-installed. And does the place really have a glass roof?