Author Topic: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)  (Read 526268 times)

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M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #760 on: June 24, 2008, 10:43:01 AM »
I heard the ONdF/Masur play Tchaikovsky 5 in Boston and I was literally blown away by that, too. That was an awesome performance in every respect (and as you know, I have heard, or as you like to call it, "been a prop" at many outstanding concerts, so that really means something) and it was also "interesting" for me to see how I reacted to that because I had had very mixed expectations.
I have heard the ONdF live a number of times before and they were, quite contrary to the general reputation French symphony orchestras still have, very good every time and some of the concerts very really very good - a Tchaikovsky 6 I heard with them with Maazel in the 80s to this day remains one of the great concert experiences of my life. I have also always enjoyed the rather special sound they have retained with very silky strings, rather bright but very sonorous brass and woodwind playing which always lived up to the high expectations one has of French woodwind players.
Before this concert, I had wondered how Masur's tenure might have "affected" the orchestra since, I have to admit, I used to be quite "biased" against him which is partially based on many very solidly crafted, but rarely really outstanding recordings I have heard with him (a lot of which I generally listen to more for the quality and style of the GOL than for his interpretive insights) but also on having played under his baton a number of times and I have to say, basically rather competent as he is, he also is (or maybe used to be) a real asshole   ::) ::)
Anyway, the concert was great and while Masur's leadership there has definitely resulted in a noticeable "Germanization" of the sound, it is still relatively very refined and sonorous - I talked to some members of the orchestra afterwards and they all said they were very happy with how he has influenced the sound and playing style of the orchestra - and the music making was stunningly nuanced and spirited. Plus, even though they didn't force the sound at all, they really filled the hall well with round, deep, glowing sound (I wish O Mensch could hear something like that some time)  ;) Even though I have also heard Tchaikovsky 5 way too many times and did not look particularly forward to hearing it again, but then I didn't want to miss the chance to catch the orchestra live as it has been a while since I last heard them, I enjoyed this concert enormously and there was not one dull moment.
 :)

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #761 on: June 24, 2008, 11:19:36 AM »
Don't know whether Masur is an asshole or not but the orchestra seems to like him. I know going by how they smile at him when he comes on and off the stage is probably not a good indicator of their affinity towards him. The audience seem to like him more now that he only shows up occasionally instead of seeing him day in and day out. A couple of things that really stood out as far as the playing of the ONdF is as you said the silken playing of the strings - both in the 3rd movement of the Tchaikovsky 5th and also in the encore, the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin. What really blew me away was the playing of the woodwinds. The phrasing and legato was so perfect I swear you never think those guys need to take a breath. I think the Tchaikovsky 5th is on the menu next year at the NYPO as New Yorkers can't seem to get enough of the piece.

M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #762 on: June 24, 2008, 02:14:29 PM »
He must have mellowed out a lot because the orchestra members I talked to (one of the bass players I had played together with a long time ago in a French-German student orchestra) had nothing but very positive things to say about him and their work together (which is fairly rare for orchestra musicians).
The woodwind were indeed very impressive, especially the lady who played the first oboe who really played in very long arches, especially in her long solo passages in the slow movement which also rose effortlessly above the strings when these got louder. And it was great to see and hear the original French bassoon ("le basson") in action which is rare these days since even some French orchestras have switched to the German system, a pity as it is one more characteristic color of the orchestral palette gone...

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #763 on: June 24, 2008, 02:36:46 PM »
Don't know whether Masur mellowed out a lot but he seems a lot older. I know he is no spring chicken so to speak but since I heard him about 5-6 years ago and now he looks like he has aged 15 years, to the point he looks like he has trouble standing. Well at least he doesn't need a chair like Levine does nowadays. My wife asked whether there is something wrong with his left arm since it always seem to move uncontrollably and I told her I don't know.

It would be interesting to hear the other famous French orchestra - namely the Orch. de Paris if and when they come to town.


Lilas Pastia

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #764 on: June 26, 2008, 04:06:33 PM »
These look like Parkinson's disease symptoms  :P

M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #765 on: June 26, 2008, 05:04:51 PM »
Maybe, but it could also be late consequences of a very bad car accident Masur was involved in in the 70s. IIRC, in the accident, his wife was killed and several more persons who were in one of those small plasticky cars the East Germans had ("Trabant") were killed, too, when Masur ran the Mercedes that he as priviledged Gewandhauskapellmeister had into that car. Apparently the accident was his fault but everything was covered up because he had good contacts to the regime. That story was dragged out again by newspapers after the fall of the wall and reunification when Masur was celebrated by some as a hero because he had played a role in de-escalating the situation in Leipzig in 1989.
He sustained some lasting injury in the accident, exactly what I don't know, but it led to him not being able to hold a baton anymore which is the actual reason he started conducting without one.

Offline paul

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #766 on: June 26, 2008, 06:20:15 PM »
I think the blame rests on the shoulders of Kurt Masur.

Kurt Masur hasn't been music director of the Philharmonic since 2002, so I don't think that he has had much to do with any recent programming of Bruckner. Maazel's performance of Bruckner 8 with the Philharmonic received such positive responses from the musicians that it ultimately landed him the job and I don't think that he wanted to risk another performance of it too soon. Right before his "farewell season" seems like a better time to do it. I agree that Friday's performance was exceptional and I'm sorry that I couldn't go see the concert again the next night.

Also for the record, Masur is still an asshole and as frustrating as ever to play under. He is just older.

Offline paul

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #767 on: June 26, 2008, 06:22:01 PM »
Maazel's first performance in 2000, that is.

M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #768 on: June 26, 2008, 06:49:10 PM »
Also for the record, Masur is still an asshole and as frustrating as ever to play under. He is just older.

How do you know?

Offline paul

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #769 on: June 27, 2008, 04:13:56 AM »
How do you know?

I have played under him and gone to many rehearsals and concerts with him and the Philharmonic. My teacher is in the Philharmonic as is her student who I occasionally study with (who won his job under Masur) and I get an earload about working with Masur all the time from them and other members of the orchestra I've talked to. His relationship with the NYPO is not the happiest.

M forever

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #770 on: June 27, 2008, 01:43:40 PM »
Are you referring to back when he was MD or more recently? Does he come back as guest regularly? What's the synopsis of what you hear (the "earloads"). I remember him being usually competent and prepared, fairly insistent, but often unnecessarily unfriendly back then in Leipzig (and one time, I also happened to play with a smaller orchestra in Jena for a conducting seminar he led, that was pretty bad, how he acted the world star who condescended to work with half-talented students and a smaller, "provincial" orchestra, and he made sure everyone knew what he felt about them). Where did you play under him, BTW?

Lilas Pastia

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #771 on: June 27, 2008, 02:03:27 PM »
Yikes! When shit hits the fan...  :o . What is it with conductors' egos anyway?  :P

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #772 on: July 01, 2008, 07:16:03 AM »
Next week seeing Zimmermann's opera, Die Soldaten, in the production from the 2006 Ruhr Festival (below).  The narrow stage stretches the length of the venue (the Park Avenue Armory), some 300 feet long, with the audience seated on a huge unit that straddles the stage on either side, mounted on railroad tracks.  The seating is able to move 7" per second, moving the audience closer to the action as required.  It looks totally amazing!

--Bruce

"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline MDL

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #773 on: July 01, 2008, 07:34:56 AM »
The seating is able to move 7" per second, moving the audience closer to the action as required.  It looks totally amazing!

--Bruce



WTF?! Are you serious? So is the whole audience going to be shunting backwards and forwards like they're on something that's escaped from Disney World? Have seat belts been provided? What's going to happen to the we're-in-a-box-with-a-crate-of-champagne brigade? Too many questions. I think I'm going to be sick.

That looks amazing! Don't suppose you can sneak some footage onto YouTube, can you?  ;D

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #774 on: July 01, 2008, 07:57:23 AM »
WTF?! Are you serious? So is the whole audience going to be shunting backwards and forwards like they're on something that's escaped from Disney World? Have seat belts been provided? What's going to happen to the we're-in-a-box-with-a-crate-of-champagne brigade? Too many questions. I think I'm going to be sick.

That looks amazing! Don't suppose you can sneak some footage onto YouTube, can you?  ;D

 ;D  Yes, you are correct!  And a theme park ride is exactly what I was thinking of.  (And a friend said, "Whoa, 7 inches a second...don't you think that's a little fast!")  Apparently it's not so fast: during Act I the seating makes one traversal up to the front and then back, and a similar "up and back" during Act II.  But still...

Opening night is Saturday, so there should be a review in the NY Times shortly after.  Will definitely post it here, if so.  (And I assume they will have at least one photo.)

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #775 on: July 01, 2008, 08:28:50 AM »
Just found the video about the piece, including building the set, that I saw on Sunday--they must have just posted it. 

http://www.thirteen.org/sundayarts/die-soldaten/96

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

uffeviking

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #776 on: July 01, 2008, 09:41:14 AM »
Fantastic video, thank you so much Bruce!

You better eat light before you attend, don't want you to get airsick, or car sick, or audience sick, whatever.

I have the video of the 1989 Harry Kupfer production at the Staatsoper Stuttgart where Kupfer moved the action on to two levels, stage floor and second story platform. Not a bad idea either. A conductor friend of mine spent time in Stuttgart during the rehearsals as one of the many advisers and he was overwhelmed at the multitude of actions.

Looking forward to your review! :-*


Offline Brewski

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #777 on: July 01, 2008, 09:45:26 AM »
Fantastic video, thank you so much Bruce!

You better eat light before you attend, don't want you to get airsick, or car sick, or audience sick, whatever.

I have the video of the 1989 Harry Kupfer production at the Staatsoper Stuttgart where Kupfer moved the action on to two levels, stage floor and second story platform. Not a bad idea either. A conductor friend of mine spent time in Stuttgart during the rehearsals as one of the many advisers and he was overwhelmed at the multitude of actions.

Looking forward to your review! :-*



Yes, I've seen some still photos of that production, which also looks quite fine.  (I don't recall the production here at NY City Opera being nearly as complex as either of these sound.)

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #778 on: July 01, 2008, 01:16:29 PM »
Just found the video about the piece, including building the set, that I saw on Sunday--they must have just posted it. 

http://www.thirteen.org/sundayarts/die-soldaten/96

--Bruce

Thanks for the link, Bruce.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Monsieur Croche

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Re: What concerts are you looking forward to? (Part II)
« Reply #779 on: July 01, 2008, 10:02:29 PM »
Tonight: Jenö Jandó

Bach – Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903
Bach – Italian Concerto, BWV 971
Bartók – Suite, Op. 14
Kodaly – Dances of Marosszek
Liszt – Sonata in B Minor

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Tomorrow: Jennifer Micallef & Glen Inanga

Bach-Reger – Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068
Beethoven – Grosse Fuge in B Flat Major, Op. 133
Mozart-Busoni – Duettino Concertante (from PC #19)
Holloway – Selections from Gilded Goldbergs
Martinu – Fantasy
Stravinsky – Three Dances from Petrushka
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Day after tomorrow: Kim Sung-Hoon

Bach – Partita No. 6 in E Minor, BWV 830
Scriabin – Sonata No. 5, Op. 53, “Poem of Ecstasy”
Brahms – Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5

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And the day after: Christopher Taylor***

Bach – Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Rzewski – The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

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And the next day: Konstantin Scherbakov

Bach-Godowsky – Violin Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1002
Shostakovich – Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 (selections)
Beethoven-Liszt – Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, “Choral”

Man, do I have a busy week ahead of me!  8) 8) 8)

***I’m especially looking forward to this one.