Three concerts in eight days

It's been a busy couple of weeks - three concerts in the last eight days, so I decided to roll them together into one entry. On December 5th at the Queen Elizabeth Hall the Philharmonia Orchestra performed Ligeti's Violin Concerto, with soloist Saschko Gawriloff, and Mahler's 5th Symphony: the conducter was Jonathon Nott. The Ligeti produces some interesting sounds by detuning one violin and one viola to high harmonics on the double-bass, thus exploiting the difference between natural intervals and the 'tempered scale' where all semitones are the same. Intriguing as an idea, though I have to say the piece is not really my sort of music. The Mahler 5th was given a terrific performance; the very complex scoring for a huge orchestra was clearly defined and the whole long work well paced, exciting and involving.

On 8th December the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski played Barber's affecting Adagio for String, the Shostakovich 2nd Violin Concerto, and Stravinsky's ballet music 'The Fairy's Kiss'. In my entry on June 28th I said I wasn't impressed by Shostakvich's 1st Violin concerto, but the 2nd is a quite different work, composed much later, and more mature and thoughtful: well played by Boris Garlitsky.

'The Fairy's Kiss' is based on themes by Tchaikovsky, re-worked in Stravinsky's personal manner but with respect and affection for the originals: I'm familiar with it from Stravinsky's own recording, but in a live performance much more of the intricate scoring can be heard.

Wigmore Hall, in central London near Oxford Circus, is a small concert hall originally built in 1901 by the Bechstein Piano Company to provide a platform for their wares: it has been a general recital hall since 1917. Yesterday evening members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed five chamber works for woodwind and brass. Handel's Fireworks Music (in the original orchestration but of course with one instrument per part - about 15 in all as opposed to Handel's original 100-odd) opened the concert: Poulenc's 'Suite Francaise' - based on 16th century dances arranged in his distinctive style - and Stravinsky's Octet, composed in his so-called 'neo-classical' period but with typical Stravinsky dissonances - took us to the interval. The second half consisted of an assured student work by Doniztti, only published in 1967 - his Sinfonia in G minor - and Richard Strauss's complex and lyrical Sonatina no. 1 from 1943. All played with charm and style, conducted by Robin O'Neill.

A busy musical week, then - no more concerts booked until January 12th.

Download a Google Earth placemark for the Wigmore Hall

Posted: Wed - December 13, 2006 at 09:21 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM