Wednesday, October 13, 2010

REVIEW: Mahler 7 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Okay, this is a bit late... but rather late than never, right? I will keep this short... really short.

Overall, the September 11 performance at the Hong Kong Cultural Center Concert Hall was not memorable. Pairing with the Mahler's Symphony No. 7 was 4 songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn in the first half.

The expectation was high for good reason. The soloist was Shen Yang, the winner of the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. I have attended his recital in Hong Kong before and truly enjoyed it. With the 4 songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn however, he came across a bit singular in color. Unlike a song cycle where a singer develops a continuing thread of emotions, these Mahler songs are quite varied and calls for variation in interpretation and vocal coloring. Shen Yang's performance was a decent one, but nothing else.

The Symphony No. 7 fell in the same category, it was a decent performance, but offered nothing else. Maestro Edo de Waart tried to muster a sense of scale but the whole piece just didn't take off.

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