Sunday, November 21, 2010

REVIEW: Ton Koopman's Haydn & Mozart with HKPO

It must be the best Haydn and Mozart live performance I have heard from HKPO!

First thing first, the programming of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ton Koopman’s Haydn & Mozart concert on November 20 at the Cultural Centre Concert Hall was superb. The combination was just right with a fine balance of more and less familiar, and with variation of forms.

After enjoying immensely The Peony Pavilion the previous night, I was hoping that this will not spoil my weekend… and boy I was so grateful. I couldn’t ask for a better Haydn & Mozart evening.

With Haydn’s Symphony No. 98 in B flat, Koopman paid careful attention to the piece’s contrasting dynamic. The crisp vivacity and clean sound was genuinely refreshing and astounding.

Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in B flat was the highlight of the evening though. This featured Jorja Fleezanis (violin), Richard bamping (cello), Michael Wilson (oboe) and Benjamin Moermond (bassoon). HKPO responded to Koopman with warm and refined playing. The solo contributions were easy and careful with a twist every now and then.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K550, a most-familiar piece, achieved warmth without loss of urgency and drama. I did wish, however, that the two outer movements had a wee more tension.

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