Sunday, November 23, 2008

If only I could have heard her!

Diana Galvydyte, tonight's soloist of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra's concert at the Filharmonija, conducted by the venerable Juozas Domarkas.

The Lithuanian Ms Galvydyte is quite young, and rushed off to the Menuhin School in 2000; though now she's a student at the Royal Academy in London. Nearly four years ago she won third prize at the Heifetz competition which took place in Vilnius, playing the Prokofiev concerto. She's good at contemporary music, if you can call Prokofiev that.

Tonight's programme was more conventional; Chausson's Po√®me, a popular and very languid piece, and Wieniawski's 'Fantaisie brilliante' on themes from Gounod's 'Faust', a bit of auditory cheesecake, usual vehicle for violinists to show off their skills, including the compulsory fireworks using harmonics and so on. When Ms Galvydyte played solo, she produced a beautiful sound, warm, though with rather non-varying vibrato (maybe it was the period of music that she chose, but at that period vibrato was still more used as an ornament than continuously - listen to Joseph Joachim's recordings). Intonation was perfect, everything was beautiful, almost too beautiful - at the opening of the Wieniawski there was a place on the G-string which she could have played roughly, like 'dirty'.  It needed a bit more personality, and more dynamic contrast. Unfortunately, when the orchestra joined her, we could only see her play, not hear her. Whether it was the 'fault' of a rather limited projection or of the conductor not keeping the band under control, I could not say.

This was followed by Durufle's requiem, written in 1947.  I may have to revise my theory that only composers in countries that have no wars write peaceful music; could not really say that about France (the peace stuff, I mean). Then again, I wonder if it had something to do with it being written just after the war, trying to get some peace into the place.  It is a highly conventional piece, almost romantic (50 years after its time?), though it has interesting moments, including something like Gregorian chant in places, and including a harp (played by the very young Agne Keblyte), an organ and a celesta. There were as many, if not more, wind players on the stage than string players, whose sections were very slimmed down. Some of the sounds just drowned - I heard the celesta once, the organ now and again, and occasionally the harp. It's something about French 20th century music, of this style, that you just get a carpet of sound, rather than themes going round the orchestra. Sometimes it sounded like a guddle, though.  The piece was supposed to contain a baritone soloist, who I never saw, not even when at the final bows - the mezzo, Jovita Vaskeviciute, sang very nicely - she has an amazingly dark voice; is she really a mezzo?  I don't really know the piece, so don't know if the band played well, or the interpretation was right, or not - the violas again had a nice solo, and the solo cellist (the chap who plays in Musica Humana) did a wonderful obbligato accompanying the soloist in her one aria.

Lots of French music over the last week or two; does not do me any harm.  Now I am off to Tbilisi - I see the opera house is planning some charity events for children displaced by the conflict (you know which one I mean). One day someone will think of doing charity events for the old people displaced by the conflict, or those who have picked up a psychiatric illness as the result of the conflict. Would they get as much money for these groups?