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Classical Concert chat...

Discussion in 'classical' started by windhoek, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. windhoek

    windhoek The Phoolosopher

    I nearly went to see it myself last night but I wasn't sure whether Bruckner 8 would be an all too polite affair or polite with some bite here and there. I don't really know the symphony and what I heard on Youtube made me think it would be all polite and no bite so I never went. I guess I should try listening to another version to get a better feel and if it comes back to Glasgow, then I'll know for sure whether I want to go.
  2. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Oh, there was no shortage of bite :)

    It was broadcast on R3, so can be heard via Sounds; and they are playing it again in Aberdeen soon. That concert will also be recorded for broadcast - perhaps as an Afternoon Concert? I'll probably add both to my vaaaaast collection of Bruckner 8s...

    Meanwhile, nearer home for me, Mirga G-T will conduct the CBSO in Bruckner 6 on March 10th - and then repeat on tour in Dortmund, Frankfurt and (gasp!) the Musikverein. That young woman has certainly arrived... the famous CBSO springboard does it again!
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
    windhoek likes this.
  3. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    Shrewsbury to Glasgow for Bruckner 8? That's dedication!

    I heard them in Bruckner 7 a few years back, totally unexpectedly it was one of the best Bruckner performances I've been lucky to hear.

    I'm a fan of Dutilleux, his music should be heard more often, I have never got to hear any of his music live yet. Correspondances is good... But the set of songs Le temps l’horloge that he wrote for Renee Fleming is even better.
  4. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    One change at Crewe... it's easy, really. You could do the reverse journey and visit Symphony Hall for Bruckner 6, which I am hoping will be something special. Chain hotels are cheap at this time of year...
  5. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    Scottish Opera - Nixon in China, John Adams.

    I thought it was fairly stupendous. Grand Opera - big chorus, lots of stage action, moving sets, ballet, all done brilliantly. I'm not much of an Opera fan, we make an effort once a year just so we don't lose it as an art-form..... but this was awesome.

    I have to admit that a lot of the first act didn't really register - there is prolonged discussion between Nixon & Mao over historical philosophy which Nixon is too glib to get - but the libretto has too much subtlety to grasp on first hearing. But 2nd act (an extended ballet scene around a visit to the Beijing Opera where the dancers are as oppressed and tormented as the revolutionary peasants & soldiers they are depicting) & 3rd acts were devastating.

    This opera asks the question - "what is the price for history, and who pays it?" In the third act, the protagonists Nixon & his wife, Chairman & Madam Mao, and Prime Minister Chou En-Lai wonder about their place in history and how they got there..... all the while a giant revolving cube projects images of the suffering of the Vietnam war, the flag draped coffins, the glorious Long March, the humiliations of the cultural revolution and famines in China.... the answer to the question is clear as the protagonists take themselves into the cube and the stage descends into darkness.

    I have to say the production and narrative were so powerful that I didn't really notice the music so much (I'm a fan of Adams' music in general)- but it definitely did its job.
  6. herb

    herb music live

    I enjoyed the Scottish Opera Nixon in China too. For me Pat Nixon stole the show, though as you say there were big issues from the past being analysed as well. As usual the orchestra in the pit sounded fat and bloated...
  7. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    I've never found that with Scottish Opera. I thought the orchestra sounded excellent in Janacek's Katya Kabanova last year, and utterly ravishing in Pelleas & Melisande 3 years ago. They were using a fancy pants projection-amplification system last night which is supposed to give everyone in the auditorium ideal sound, and keep the singers voices above the orchestra. It seemed to work OK for me, but I was noticing some distractions like part of the chorus and side drums seeming to come from my extreme right. There is a 2-page article about it in the programme booklet.
  8. herb

    herb music live

    Ah thanks I never buy programmes, mind you that programme looked more like a book. I did note some sounds coming from very precise odd places, that would explain it. It was not natural to me. There were some really ancient members of the audience on Thursday so I am beginning to feel right at home in the Festival Theatre, having recently seen Jan Garbarek and that play about the world traveller who should have stayed at home for fulfilment - can't think of his name, Peter Gynt?
  9. herb

    herb music live

    OK Alan I feel I have to ask if you could tell me more about the Festival Theatre sound system used please. In the past I have heard amplified simple Sufi music from the front row. My impression was that Tannoys were used. Have they mentioned what the speakers were?
  10. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    The programme note does not say anything about the hardware involved. The system is by a company d & b audiotechnik, with a website at dbsounsdscape.com - which again doesn't give specifics about hardware. There is some very heavy duty DSP involved, and I could notice a fair amount of fan noise from equipment that was suspended from the grand circle a bit above and behind where I was sitting in the stalls. I couldn't see any obvious looking speakers in sight, but they must have been somewhere!

    I could scan the article for you - but to be honest its really just a lot of advertorial spraff that doesn't give any details away other than "its wonderful" sort of thing.
  11. herb

    herb music live

    OK thanks, I really must take a proper look at any equipment next time I am there. I remember the period when RSNO did their concert season at the Festival Theatre whilst the Usher Hall got its makeover. I thought the sound was good, they put up a blanket behind the orchestra.
  12. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    I think the d&b acoustic system is only there for Nixon in China - its not a permanent fixture.
  13. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Also Sprach Zarathustra and Das Lied von der Erde at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh tonight. RSNO under Sondergard. We travelled from Shrewsbury for this and sat in Stalls row S.

    The Mahler (which I have been listening to for 45 years, but never heard live until tonight) was rather fine, particularly in the last movement, where mezzo Jane Irwin sang very well. The tenor, Simon O'Neill, to my surprise was less able to project his voice over Mahler's orchestra. I know from broadcasts that he is a fine singer, so either row S is less than ideal for this music, or Sondergard got the balance wrong, or (most likely, I think) we are all spoiled by hearing good recordings on decent systems, and every tenor struggles to be heard in Das Lied von der Erde in the concert hall...

    I really, really want to hear it at Symphony Hall now, and I'm confident that Mirga will programme it soon. The more I travel to other halls - something which I always enjoy - the more I realise how lucky I am to have Symphony Hall as my "home" venue. I have found nowhere to equal it, certainly not in the British Isles.

    Having done Manchester, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, our last trip to an "away" venue this winter/spring will be to Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool for Mahler 3 under Vasily Petrenko. Should be good... and we can get the last train home! :)
    windhoek likes this.
  14. windhoek

    windhoek The Phoolosopher

    I'm off to see Das Lied von der Erde tonight at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It's a larger venue than City Halls and I'm sitting in seat J13, so roughly in the middle of the stalls - hopefully, that means I'll be able to hear the tenor... just about :)
  15. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Do please report - I've yet to visit the RCH.

    One learns quite a lot about orchestral sound, its presentation and its reproduction, by visiting lots of concert halls and trying different seats in them...
  16. windhoek

    windhoek The Phoolosopher

    I'm just back from seeing the RSNO perform Das Lied von der Erde as well as Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. I only knew the opening to the latter so I haven't got much to say except I enjoyed the opening and then the rest of it was okay. Not my cup of tea but nothing wrong with it either.

    Das Lied was a tale of two halves: the lights weren't dimmed after the intermission so it took until the start of Der Abschied for me to really settle into it. But once Der Abschied began I was totally caught up in its spell, hook, line and sink. Seriously, I was practically having an out-of-body experience, with trembling limbs and tears about to flow forth, such was the performance.

    As for the tenor's vocals, they seemed close to being about right considering his part often swamped by full-on orchestration much more so than his counterpart.

    What I'm keen to know is, did the lights stay on for Das Lied at the Usher Hall? If yes, I guess that means they were left on to allow the audience to read the translation of the songs in the programme. If they weren't, I guess that means somebody forgot to turn the lights off!

    As an aside, the conductor opened the evening with a brief speech on the relationship between music and philosophy via Nietzsche with a focus on climate change and what we've lamentably been doing to the planet during our tenure of it as a species. I thought it worthy of applause so I started clapping and most of the audience joined in accordingly.

    As an aside not once but twice, I'm now listening to this version of Das Lied by Philippe Herreweghe as transcribed for chamber orchestra by Schoenberg. It's perfect for late-night listening as it's a more intimate affair than the fuller Das Lied we've come to know and love.

  17. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    I have the impression that Sondergard always talks to the audience before conducting - his sentiments were applauded in Edinburgh, too. They did dim the lights for Das Lied there, thank heavens.

    In several books recently I have read that the only way to avert a catastrophic collapse will be for humanity to overcome its dependence on economic and capital growth by abandoning consumer capitalism, stopping our constant acquisition of new Stuff. Perhaps this sentiment won't be popular on a hi-fi forum... but if our over-privileged generation spends its money on experiences (concerts) rather than things (new gear) we can at least take a step in the right direction.
  18. windhoek

    windhoek The Phoolosopher

    Great to hear Sondergard gave a brief speech in Edinburgh as well - not so great (for me and the rest of the audience in Glasgow) to hear they dimmed the lights for Das Lied!

    As another aside, there were a few young people in the audience. The guy to my immediate left was in his early 20s as I suspect, was the young couple two rows in front of me. At a guess, I reckon 10% at most of the audience was in its 20s. I never saw any young kids per se, but still, the audience wasn't completely old as there were a lot of middle-aged people like me there.
  19. kimmiles

    kimmiles pfm Member

    Went to see Madam Butterfly at the ENO on Saturday as a treat for my daughter's 30th birthday!

    Booked months ago and only read the reviews last week; they were right! It was a fantastic experience and really beautifully done (I think I'm right in saying that it is the same production as the Met did several years ago?). I can see why it is sold out!

    I'm not an opera fan at all and really bought the tickets as my daughter was desperate to see a decent staging of an opera and she thought that it was absolutely superb!

    Absolutely worth the money for the tickets and the hours spent travelling to and from London!
    windhoek likes this.
  20. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    The CBSO tour was cancelled yesterday morning because of That Virus :(

    As well as that, Mirga was unwell with a throat infection (oh dear...) and was replaced for last night's concert by Omer Meir Wellber, who cannot get home to Italy to see his kid because of... you know, That Virus...

    The orchestra is very disappointed about the cancellation of the tour (I have all this from an inside source), so was determined to give 110% last night. And they enjoy working with Wellber.

    The result? A terrific Bruckner 6. Every tempo just worked and seemed entirely natural. There were some (not too many) accelerations, all in appropriate places and effective, not eccentric. I like Brucker played as music, not "cathedrals in sound"... The whole performance hung together really well and everybody, even those who don't consider themselves "Brucknerians", agreed that it was most satisfying.

    The Bartok (Piano concerto 3) in the first half? I'm sure that it was equally well played, but the piece does little for me - I just don't get it - so I ought not to comment. It wasn't what I went for, and I came away from Symphony Hall a happy bunny anyway :)
    alanbeeb and windhoek like this.

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