Monday, December 27, 2010


6 months on, no music to report on in the meantime - cannot report on my own concerts in Botswana, nor other concerts there which are so dire (and I know the people personally) that normally I would ask for my money back, but if the concert is in Aid Of A Good Cause, what is a guy to do?

Anyway, my second concert in the Filharmonija in 2 weeks, and this week will be a busy week of concerts. It was the usual Christmas concert of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, which takes place on Boxing Day every year. Conducted by the Ukrainian Artistic Director, Sergey Krylov who was also a violin soloist in some pieces. Not much has changed in the orchestra; I spotted two new faces, otherwise it was the same group as before.

Aaaah, the bliss! It started with a beautifully executed overture from one of the Bach orchestral suites (got in too late to get a programme). Beautiful smooth sound - people do not realise how starving a guy can be for a good sound. Played more or less in the historically informed style, given modern instruments and all that, though some of the performers still struggled a bit with the bowing.

This was followed by a Mozart Divertimento, also very nice, and the audience applauded obediently between every movement. Never mind, at least they went to the concert, which was almost sold out (I had to stand in the second half).

Then Krylov was the soloist in a couple of pieces. The first was Schubert's Rondo for violin and orchestra (again I thought that Schubert tends to write very long pieces). Very nice, though the orchestra could have played this one in a more romantic style - here the Bachian historically informed style seemed a bit inappropriate. This was followed by 5 Paganini caprices, arranged for soloist and orchestra by E Denisov, a contemporary Russian composer. Not totally convinced about the arrangement - the background seemed to be mainly noise, rather than music. In the first caprice Krylov seemed not quite settled down - it was a bit like a bus driven by a drunk driver travelling along a narrow road with cars parked on either side, and with lots of tiny car crashes resulting in many cars being scratched. From the second caprice onwards it was a fine performance, were it not for this arrangement.

Finally we had Vivaldi's Gloria, with the aristocratic-looking Ieva Prudnikovaite and Ona ???? (no programme, website has moved on) as soloists. Both, like most young Lithuanian women, tall and slim as rakes - towering over the conductor. It was a very nice performance - I was word perfect for most of the piece (not that difficult ' gloria in excelsis deo', 'agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis', 'laudamus te, adoramus te, beneficimus te, glorificamus te' etc etc, not necessarily in that order). Ona ??? tended to drop off notes a bit, I felt - some could have been held longer, and Ms Prudnikovaite had a bit of a steely edge to her voice as she got lower; could have done with more warmth - might that be a factor of body weight? But otherwise it went well - the Kaunas State Choir at its best, though some of the dynamics could have shown more contrasts.

Very pleasant evening overall, and a nice end to Christmas.