It seems to be quite a while I didn’t pen down a single word on music. Anyway I dun do this for a living.
Now is the time to show that I am never far away from music and log something for the past season.
I continued my almost routine concerts attendance, with my dearest or with my music buddies. I didn’t really count, but at least 40+ concerts/opera/musical for the past season. Of course, classical music still on the center of stage here.
SSO continued to be my daily meal. They did great job. However like most orchestras they have their own form, sometime excellent sometime so so.
Luckily visiting orchestras and musical travels are the supplements to my main course.During the past season, I’ve heard Los Angeles Philharmonic (LAP) and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, St. Thomas boys choir and more recently the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Dresden Staatskapelle.
For LAP, a top 10 in the new Gramophone ranking. I had a high expectation, maybe too high. The perfermance of "La Mer" was great, but I can’t say it’s better than what I heard from the SSO’s interpretation of "La Mer" on their SACD release. Of course, this recording is the best for SSO over the years and confirmed by many critics. And comparing live performance with recorded music does not make much sense.
RPO with Slatkin played a safer way here by playing the Enigma Variations. The "Nimrod" was so memorable that the applause immediate after was the most sincere I ever heard. Not an improper or naive one in between movements. Opening the night was William Walton’s suite for Henry V, another surprising work. (Realized choosing MacMillan’s "The confession of Isobel" my favorite contemporary classical music, I find myself towards the British music again. Yes, I’m a big fan of British pop/rock too!)
Though shadowed by their derby Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Deutsche Symphony Orchestra is also performing at high level as one of the major orchestras in Berlin. The horn section was superb. Strings was also refined and disciplined. Probably the only problem of that night was slightly lack of power for Bruckner’s symphony No. 7.
Japanese orchestras seldom tour. This is my first time hearing a Japanese orchestra live. Like other products from Japan, they are generally known for their quality, in musically terms technical skills and refinement of execution. Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra not only showed this but also a disciplined and wooden European sound. I guess credit goes to the conductor Kazuhiro Koizumi and their music director Inbal
Couple of weeks ago, I heard Dresden Staatskapelle (another top 10 in the gramophone’s new list) in Hong Kong. I’ll blog more together with my Hong Kong trip.
(All photos are from Internet)
You seems to be a professional musician or music writer. What is your impression of symphony Orchastras in China? There are dozons of professional music groups in China now. "La Mer" you mentioned is a concerto or a short piece? I remember a short flute piece with this name composed by Vivardi(sorry for the wrong spelling) or someone else. If I am not wrong, "Le Mer" has some connection with Sea storm ?Anyway as a music lover, very glad to read your words.
Very glad that you enjoyed the reading.In fact as first sentence stated, "I dun do this for a living", I do this for life.Though I do play some instrument and write a bit about music, I’m not a professional musician or music writer, that’s some of my friends’ job.I had limited experience with symphony orchestras in China. I only heard a few on recording and the lastest live concert would be 3 years back with China Philharmonic Orchestra. That’s to say I’m not at the position to comment. From what I heard so far, they are not yet in the first tier of Asian orchestras. But I believe they may already improve much during these few years. I hope to hear them more when I’m back in China."La Mer" is a symphonic work ("The sea, three symphonic sketches for orchestra" to be exact) by Debussy.