Monday, February 7, 2011

REVIEW: Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin)

Chamber Music Hall, Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin), Sunday January 30
In celebration of Hans Werner Henze’s 85th birthday, the orchestra chose to perform his Violin Concerto No. 2 for solo violinist, recorded tape, bass baritone, and other instrumentalists, which employs Hans Magnus Enzensberger's text "Hommage à Gödel" and stage antics to make its point. This is Henze's most avant-garde violin concerto and it sounded that. I have to admit that I didn't particularly enjoy this piece. In any case, one would hardly know whether they were playing the right notes or not unless you have the score for it. It was quite amusing seeing Sir Simon Rattle literally counting in front of the orchestra. Guy Braunstein at the violin did his best in performing the required stage antics... not even that could save this piece. Wolfram Teßmer sang with conviction but his voice is a tad small for this hall.

Simon Rattle, Magdalena Kožená

The second half fared a little better, primarily due to the program, Gustav Mahler’s 
Das Lied von der Erde. The strength of the performance lies on the beauty of Magdalena Kožená's rendition. Hers was a voice that was earthy but bright and ample enough to overcome the imbalance of the orchestral sound. Tenor Andrew Staples has a beautiful but small voice. As for the orchestra, they gave a spectacularly lackluster performance.

Performance aside, I find my experience (first time) in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker a bit disappointing. The hall has an arena type layout, which means that only a third of the audience actually sees the front of the performers. I suppose if this layout means better acoustic, it would be alright, but from where I was seated, the sound was very imbalanced. My experience was also affected by a stupid usher (who insisted that I should go to the other hall - Philharmonie) and extreme heating in the hall (I was down to my t-shirt and I still need fanning).

Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle, Magdalena Kožená
Sun 30. January 2011 8 pm
Chamber Music Hall

To Hans Werner Henze on the occasion of his 85th Birthday

Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle Conductor
Magdalena Kožená Mezzo-Soprano
Andrew Staples Tenor
Wolfram Teßmer Baritone
Guy Braunstein Violin

Hans Werner Henze: Violin Concerto No. 2
Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home