Friday, January 01, 2010

Oh Boy, Musika Humaaaaana

New Year's Eve, the Filharmonija puts on lots of concerts, lots and lots of them, and they are all sold out well before December. But....not only did I get a standing room ticket for the Musica Humana Concert in the Lutheran Church last night, in the end I ended up in the same seat, at the end of the front row, in which I always sit! Couldn't ask for more...

The Musica Humana was in fine fettle, as was the conductor, true to his rather large-ego self. There were encores in the middle of the concert, added pieces thrown in elsewhere - I, and many others, fled after 1 hour and 45 minutes sat on hard, cold church pews, before he launched into further encores.

The music was Bach and Vivaldi; well-known pieces, including 'sheep may safely graze' (did Bach really write the bass part pizzicato? that makes it sound rather cheesy), arias, a motet, concertos, a symphony by Vivaldi.... They played their usual selves well. The soloist, Julija Stupnianek had a rather unfortunate wide vibrato which does not really go with Bach (I tried to imagine 'sheep may safely graze' sung by a boy soprano, and failed) - the wobble was such that she almost doubled the syllables in the words. Shame, she does have a nice voice.

The final piece, Vivaldi's concerto for two orchestras and two organs, was rather over-ambitious. The other orchestra was sat up beside the 'real' big organ, and in the second movement, where they had an echo function, we all were at the edge of our seats, waiting, and waiting, for the echo. Also they sounded rather rough, it has to be said - though I know it was not an amateur orchestra. Quite unnecessary for the main orchestra leader, who himself sounded rather thin on his solos, to shout bravo to the other band before the applause started.

There was another piece where the flute doubled the oboe, making the combined sound rather screechy; never mind the moment when a cellist went for it, with gusto, but too early, much to general giggles. Overall, though, it was a pleasant enough concert, but it would be nice if the Musica Humana just plays what is on the programme, and once only. Then again, pigs might fly!