Sunday, June 6, 2010

REVIEW: Mozart and Shostakovich with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

It was an evening that showed off what HKPO is made of.

The night started off with Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A, K622. As the soloist Andrew Simon clarified, HKPO was going to perform the "original" version composed for basset clarinet. As a regular clarinet cannot play the low notes that Mozart originally wrote, it was the version that had the low notes transposed to the regular range that was eventually published. It was only later that the original version was reconstructed.

Andrew Simon played beautifully, exploring and enjoying all the dialogues with the orchestra and also the dialogues with the extended range of the instrument. It is this particular aspect that I was really amazed at and enjoyed.

The highlight of the evening though was Shostakovich's Symphony No.11 in G minor. The symphony was written in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. For this work, Shostakovich chose to depict the events of January 1905 when Winter Palace guards fired shots into a peaceful protesting crowd.

Alexander Lazarev, led the orchestra with great drama. It was a no-nonsense retelling of the event with almost all markings executed with clarity and boldness. The 11th has rarely sounded so believable and the audience bought it. A resounding success, I would say.

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