Thursday, May 20, 2010

REVIEW: De Waart’s Beethoven 9 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

The juxtaposition of Beethoven’s first and last symphony made an interesting evening.

De Waart’s Beethoven 9 performed to a packed house tonight (19th of May) at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. It was the last installment of the Beethoven trilogy. The concert started of Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21 followed by Symphony No.9 in D minor Choral, Op. 125.

The Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21 was played ceremoniously with nothing much new to offer. While the piece represents Beethoven at the height of his Classical power and was considered a “masterpiece” and its “originality” was praised, I can’t help but feel that what came after his “early” period are what really matter to me personally. This is especially true to his “late” period where I find his works intellectually deeper and personal expressions are more intense. The Symphony No. 9 in D minor Choral, Op. 125 is just that.

Overall, the 9th was performed splendidly. Though there were a few moments that I felt the whole ensemble were barking at each other, it was rather difficult not to be carried away by the outbursts of happiness innate to the score. Maestro Edo de Waart kept the music tight, dynamic and flowing. Soloist Eike Wilm Schulte delivered a certain lyric quality to his bass voice that resonated joy. Simon O’Neill, Susan Bullock and Ning Liang all gave a fine performance, but the star of the 9th was the Shanghai Opera House Choir. Even though the choir started off a bit wobbly, they quickly warmed up to superb form delivering both power and subtlety when needed.

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At May 20, 2010 at 1:50 AM , Anonymous ven said...

i agree. the shanghai oprea is very stunning indeed.

At May 20, 2010 at 10:13 AM , Anonymous Helen Wong said...

Yes, Shanghai Opera Choir was the most wonderful part last night.

At May 20, 2010 at 10:37 AM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

Indeed. They were very good in Fidelio, thus my expectation was high when I went to the Beethoven 9th, yet they didn't fail me :-)


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