Thursday, February 3, 2011

Concert: Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (featuring David Daniels) (1/25/2011)

1/25/2011

TELEMANN: Concerto for 3 horns and violin in D major, TWV 54:D2
VIVALDIStabat Mater RV 621
HANDEL: Arias from Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Radamisto, Agrippina
TELEMANN: Suite in F major "Alster Overture" TWV 55:F11

David Daniels, countertenor
Nicholas McGegan, conductor



PBO這一季在南灣表演的音樂廳實在離家裡太近,只需開車3分鐘,所以只要稍稍有引起興趣的音樂會,就一定會來光顧。這一天的曲目,Telemann的兩首曲子,是前一陣子訂Simon Standage領軍的Collegium Musicum 90的一張CD上也有錄的。這兩首算是較為另類的音樂,是展現Telemann多元化以及幽默的地方。

協奏曲是給三支法國號和一把小提琴,但實質上主角是第一支法國號和小提琴,另外兩支是來陪襯的。雄厚的法國號,和溫柔的小提琴,形成強烈的對比。快樂章裡,法國號角響起,如同貴族要去打獵,聲勢壯大。中間的慢樂章,法國號休息,小提琴有一段淒美的獨奏。

Alster組曲,該是Telemann最生動的組曲之一,指揮McGegan也說,這是他帶PBO這麼多年,表演過最詭異的曲目了。Alster是漢堡城裡的人造湖,而組曲是當時Telemann因為科隆的大主教來訪特地寫的音樂。除了序曲,剩下都是標題音樂,形容漢堡和Alster的各地標和景觀,並利用四支法國號做出一些效果。其中,有漢堡的大砲(canonierende Pallas),湖面反光(兩支法國號吹旋律,另外兩支在遠處小聲響應,像是個回聲),鐘琴(glockenspiel),天鵝之歌,牧羊人之歌,青蛙和烏鴉的協奏曲(不和諧合絃和半音階,算是最搞笑的),沉靜的潘神,以及牧羊人和仙女(nymph)傖促地離去。

這晚那麼有趣的音樂曲目,最大的敗筆,來自於吹法國號的,特別是那位首席,頻頻放砲。話說,巴洛克的銅管樂器,因為沒有活栓,所以完全靠嘴型去吹出不同的音,是相當困難的。講公道話,自己不會吹,所以理應沒有立場評批別人。只是,對方畢竟是專業音樂家,而且是很多有錢老人買票來聽的,至少音準不能太走樣吧。在中場休息時,隔壁的老夫妻在聊天,先生還說:「希望下半場,那位音樂能將將狀況搞清楚點。」所以,不要說是我在說風涼話,是大家有目共睹的。

另外的聲樂曲,找來了有名的高男高音David Daniels。Vivaldi的宗教音樂,和Handel的歌劇,是我平常不觸碰的區塊,但David Daniels的歌聲實在很漂亮,讓我印象非常深刻。Vivaldi的Stabat Mater(聖母悼歌),算是他最有名的宗教音樂之一,創作簡潔,有很多旋律被反覆使用,但不失其意境,悲傷但莊嚴。而Handel的歌劇詠嘆調,則相對戲劇化,激動且有情緒化,PBO樂團的輔助有力而恰當。

這一天的最大收穫,應該是接觸到平常不會聽的聲樂。後來這幾天,一時衝動,上網買了一套Vivaldi的宗教音樂,希望他對這一區能有更深入的了解。至於Handel的歌劇,就再說吧~~~

The PBO concert venue is literally a 3-minute drive from my home, so if the program is remotely interesting, I would make the minimum effort to attend these from time to time.   This night's program featured a combination of pure instrumental and vocal pieces.

I am more familiar with the Telemann pieces, as the same pieces are recorded on a disc by Simon Standage and his CM90.  These pieces are somewhat of an oddity and showcases Telemann's inventiveness and humor.  The concerto for 3 horns and violin is in actuality for one horn and violin, as the other two horns take on a more supporting role.  The horns are only featured in the outer fast movements, invoking a hunting scene, while the slow movement has the violin solo, singing a melancholy tune.  The violin is also featured in the fast movements to provide contrasts in the tonal quality and mood, the horn more masculine and the violin more feminine.

The Alster Overture is pretty uncanny, in that it goes a bit over the top as far as program music is concerned.  Alster is an artificial lake in Hamburg, and the movements (not including the Overture) depict various scenes and objects around the lake, including the canon, the glockenspiele, the lake reflection (using 2 horns and 2 horns in echo), a concert of frogs and crows (chromaticism and dissonance), shepards, swan songs, and other things.  As McGegan comments, he says it's the most bizarre music they've ever played in their history.

While hearing the pieces played live was a treat, so that you aren't stuck to the usual Baroque pieces, a major flaw came from the playing of the horn players.  In particular, the principal horn player was having a lot of trouble playing the notes precisely.  Granted that natural horns are extremely difficult to play, the frequency of the slip-ups are a bit too much to bear.  At intermission, I overheard an old married couple's (seems like most of these early music concertgoers are people of age) conversation, where the husband said to the wife, "I hope he (horn player) will know what he's doing in the second half."  So you see, it's not me bring critical, but the casual music listener would have picked up on his very loose playing.  Was he having a bad day or on some medication?  I don't know, but my ears didn't think too highly of the performance, especially when these are professionals.

Vocal music is not my area of expertise, and so they were the first time I heard them.  Vivaldi's Stabat Mater is one of his most famous sacred music, and its writing is fairly economic, recycling the same music for different verses of the sung text.  It's your typical Vivaldian style in a religious context, and it works well, sad and somber but never extreme.   David Daniels has a beautiful and convincing voice, showing that despite the piece is about the Virgin Mary grieving over her son, the music was intended for a male countertenor voice.  Moving on to Handel, the arias are more dramatic in character, and PBO gives very good support, always helping in bringing out the mood, whether it be of anger, sorrow, or despair.   

Keeping an open mind, I really enjoyed the vocal pieces.  The days following the concert, I went ahead and ordered a set of Vivaldi's sacred works.  I hope familiarizing myself with the genre can further give me a better picture of Vivaldi works in context.  The Handel operas can wait.

4 comments:

GGs Adventure said...

reader 恢復正常

我來當壞人挑一下漏字: 只是,對方畢竟是專業音樂家,而且是很多有錢老人買票來聽的,至少音準不能太樣吧。

不能太不像樣?

前天冒風雪去聽了一場音樂會,週五還有一場.二月份活動相當多,不然我的網站都結蜘蛛絲了....

啊!新年快樂!

Deadlockcp said...

sorry,打太快,真的常常漏字。 是走樣。

Deadlockcp said...

也祝新年快樂,新年新氣象~~~

John Hendron said...

I own a lot of Vivaldi singing, and like the music.

You're lucky to live so close to a venue for an early music ensemble!!

And I agree - I am sometimes the only person in concerts without gray hair. And I get made fun of because I have no real clue who Lady Gaga is, other than she's some singer. That's life.

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