Sunday, December 2, 2012

REVIEW: Anne-Sophie Mutter with HKPhil

Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Saturday November 17

Work has been most busy and it was two weeks ago since I saw Anne-Sophie Mutter with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Last night, I saw another HKPhil concert (Brahms’ Requiem)… and I know it is a slippery slope – the moment I start not writing a review of a performance I saw, I will start missing more… so here it is, I will keep this short.

With Michael Francis conducting, Janacek’s Taras Bulba came across with great clarity if not lacking a bit more drama. Overall, Janacek’s three gory episodes of escalating violent and horrible death achieved great narrative.

Sebastian Currier’s Time Machines for Violin and Orchestra is written for and dedicated to Anne-Sophie Mutter. The seven-movement concerto explores the relationship between the percept of music and time. This is one of those works that one has to study to understand… I mean by just listening to it, one may not easily get the concept behind it. Thank goodness to the introduction in the programme, the work was more comprehensible with some of the movements easier to understand than the others. In particular, the final movement - Harmonic Time, the cantabile line was most irresistible, drawing the listener deeper into the harmonic landscape.

Needless to say, the highlight of the evening was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (replacing the previously advertised Dvorak’s Violin Concerto). I was at first disappointed upon knowing the change as I have heard the Mendelssohn played so many times and imagining it played differently and significantly better seems to be not quite probable… boy, am I wrong! Mutter was awesome! She managed to stay within the style yet tastefully twist and yank a few tempo to create a tad of drama without going over-the-top…. absolutely brilliant! She gave an encore – Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: Sarabande.

P.S. By the way, I just have to put it on record… she looked fabulous! What a total performer… the red-gown, posture and even down to wiping sweat off her neck!

Anne-Sophie Mutter in Mendelssohn
16&17-11-2012 Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

JANÁČEK:  Taras Bulba
SEBASTIAN CURRIER:  Time Machines for violin and orchestra
MENDELSSOHN:  Violin Concerto

Michael Francis,  conductor
Anne-Sophie Mutter,  violin

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