Monday, March 7, 2011

Concert: Akademie Fuer Alte Musik Berlin (03/04/2011)



 Lutist Michael Freimuth tuning his lute

03/04/2011

TELEMANN: (Darmstadt) Overture (Suite) in F minor, TWV 55:f1
J.S. BACH: Brandenburg Concerto in No.5 in D major, BWV 1050 
J.S. BACH: Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042
HANDEL: Concerto Grosso in F major, Op.6 No.2 HWV 320
TELEMANN: Concerto in E minor for Flute and Recorder TWV 52:e1

Berkeley其實有個不小的古樂文化,所以時常會請來一些來頭不小的古樂團體。既之前去聽的Musica Antiqua Koeln 還有 Concerto Koeln,這次是上來聽Akademie Fuer Alte Musik Berlin,是德國另一個水準極高的古樂團。他們最另類的表演,該是和編舞家Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola的詭異Vivaldi四季和Rebel Les Elemens的音樂和舞台表演。過程中,音樂家在舞台上邊走邊跑邊跳,邊拉琴,還有配合其他的道具,主奏小提琴家還被抬來抬去。不大會形容,因為太奇特了。有興趣者,可看youtube這邊的影片

至於曲目,為了表示極其愛國,所以這晚的曲目清一色是德國作曲家的音樂,而且就是德國晚期這三巨頭Telemann,Handel,還有J.S. Bach的音樂。J.S. Bach的布蘭登堡五還有小提琴協奏曲已經是眾人皆知的名曲,而Handel的作品六協奏曲也算是巴洛克裡的重要曲目。剩下的Telemann音樂,應該就算是比較冷門的了。不過,Telemann的那首組曲和協奏曲,我手邊也都有錄音,所以又是另一場沒有陌生音樂的音樂會。

開頭的組曲,就和手邊的CD一樣,沒能讓我留下深刻的印象。原本網站上說要表演Telemann的水上音樂組曲(詳見在下之前的一文),但似乎臨時有變動。這首F小調組曲,好像變成了他們這次來美國巡迴的統一曲目了。總之,這首組曲並不是Telemann最好的作品,有點乏善可陳。

Surprisingly, Berkeley has a good early music culture, often inviting some of the world's leading early musicians and orchestras.  I've had to luxury of attending Musica Antiqua Koeln and Concerto Koeln's concerts, not to mention others I had to miss, like Jordi Savall and Fabio Biondi.  So when I learned of Akademie Fuer Alte Musk Berlin's  concert, I certainly made sure in advance that I'd attend this one.  Akamus Berlin's most interesting yet bizarre performance to date must be the stage performance with choreographer Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Rebel's Les Elemens.  Their performance can be found on youtube here. 

The pieces they played tonight were written entirely by German composers, and which German Baroque composers could have garnered more fame than the revered big three : Telemann, Handel, and J.S. Bach?  Other than the Telemann pieces, the Bach and Handel are considered standard Baroque repertoire.  However, I happen to own recordings of the Telemann pieces as well, so once again, no surprises in terms of the program for me.  I would have liked if they threw in a more exotic late German composer like Graupner, Fasch, or Schaffrath, but no real complains here.

The opening Telemann overture isn't Telemann's finest suite.  And hence, it failed to leave any big impressions.  Originally on an earlier program online, they were set out to play the Hamburg Ebb and Flow, otherwise known as his Water Music suite, but it seems there was a program change that the website didn't update on time.  Looks like they'll be playing the F minor suite for the rest of their  US tour.    

Baroque cello (far left) and double bass


接下來的兩首巴哈算是整場音樂會的重頭戲。特別是布五裡第一樂章,大鍵琴在後面的裝飾奏,更是我最期待的一刻,因為不同的音樂表演的方式都相當不同。他們用的大鍵琴不是跟著他們樂團一塊走的,而是用Berkeley這邊提供的。大鍵琴是早期法國的模型,因此聲音有點輕。我想這也是很有可能為什麼他們表演這首的時候,編制縮得更小。

布五的表演,女小提琴家的拉法,音比較是連起來的,也無不妥。巴洛克長笛的音色,也吹得很漂亮。而到了大鍵琴的裝飾奏,當家Raphael Alpermann選擇的詮釋方式也蠻獨特的。與其說像早期Pinnock或Karl Richter那種平鋪直敘,陽剛式的帶過,Alpermann在適當的時機,做出節奏上的彈性,停頓的地方,有時是我自己沒有預料到的,但卻又俱有說服力。基本上,是那種自己可能不會這麼彈,但在音樂會現場演出時效果十足的彈法。

巴哈小提琴協奏曲,則換成了小提琴家Georg Kallweit擔任獨奏的角色。他的拉法,比之前布五的小提琴家還要更戲劇化,在各方面的演奏上都更大膽。雖然有時可能做得太多而音稍稍有點不準,但整體表演,是受人肯定的。

Bach, Bach, Bach....   J.S. is to early music as Beethoven is to string quartet. A lot of explaining needs to be done in order to NOT put Bach on your program.   Arguably two of Bach's most famous concertos played here, and justifiably so.

Brandenburg No.5's harpsichord cadenza at the end of the first movement is one of the great touches thrown in by the great maestro, and it seems that no one plays it exactly the same.  It's always a great treat to listen to how the harpsichordist wishes to interpret the passage.  Akamus harpsichordist Raphael Alpermann had some very interesting turns of musical phrase and holding of certain notes, some coming at unexpected moments but were convincing and musically logical.   

As for the E major violin concerto, Georg Kallweit threw in a very dramatic reading of the piece.  He was more adventurous than the female soloist in the Brandenburg No.5.  His bigger cuts came at a minor cost of some scratchy notes, but it didn't make the performance less enjoyable.  In fact, the playing was of high quality and liveliness. 

lute and Baroque guitar

韓德爾的那首大協奏曲,也是我非常熟悉的。Akamus Berlin的合奏聲音,聲音非常一致,拉琴精確有力,是這些德國一流的古樂團時常給我留下的深刻印象,需要高素質的音樂家才能達到的。聽現場和錄音的最大不同,是感覺到他們的聲音和錄音比起來單薄一些。這可能是編制,或是樂器的原故,不過這是聽Musica Antiqua Koeln還有Concerto Koeln現場時沒有的感覺。唯一讓我覺得他們低音比較有力的地方,是Handel協奏曲的第三樂章,大提琴和低音提琴家很奮力地下了很重的弓,方才有感覺到。另外,他們的演奏速度的彈性更大,合奏曲的慢樂章有時甚至將步調放得更慢。雖是一種對比效果,只是讓我有時感到無趣,特別是音樂的旋律性不足時更是如此。

如對他們有任何保留,那到了最後一首Telemann的協奏曲,也被一掃而空。這首是我相當喜歡的一首協奏曲,安排在最後表演,真是太恰當了。長笛和直笛,在慢樂章中笛子的旋律優美地交錯,而在快樂章裡又展現出無比的活力和精湛的技巧。最後一個樂章,情緒則更加奔放,曲風是波蘭或土耳其的舞曲,大鍵琴家彈到一半還拿出了花鼓一邊敲打。隨著節奏加快,音樂升溫,到達高潮的結尾,更是為整場音樂畫下漂亮的句點。不僅吹笛子的二位表現得好,連樂團的輔助也是完美的。

Akamus Berlin,不用說,得到了全場的滿堂喝采,而在謝幕多次還有持續的掌聲下,他們也終於表演了一首安可曲。選的音樂,是Rameau的歌劇Dardanus裡的Tambourin,神采奕奕,讓氣氛更加high。值得一提的是,Concerto Koeln去年五月來的時候,用的安可曲,剛好是Akamus Berlin曲目單上Telemann協奏曲的終樂章,真是英雄所見略同呀~~

Handel's Concerto Grosso was a familiar piece, but more importantly allows you to really listen to their ensemble playing as a whole.  Akamus Berlin's sound is coherent and precise and energetic, the typical masculine sound the top German period ensembles seem to have in common.  What I also did feel was that Akamus Berlin's texture sounded a little lightweight.  I'm not sure if it's their instruments or the venue, but I seem to recall Concerto Koeln and Musica Antiqua Koeln's sound to be a tad richer.  In the 3rd movement of the Concerto Grosso though, heavy bowing from the cellist and the double bass was the first time I noticed their "bassiness." Akamus Berlin also had a large flexibility in their tempi, sometimes stretching the slow movements even slower, which can sound less focused for the parts that are less lyrical and melodic.

Any doubts you had of Akamus were quickly erased in their final piece on the program.  Telemann's E minor concerto for flute and recorder is one of those pieces that showcases grace and beauty in the slow movements and virtuosity and energy in the fast ones.  The sounds of the flute and recorder mix beautifully with each other and are supported amply by the ensemble.  The last movement is dance-like in character, but it's also either Polish or Turkish in origin.  It is by far the most lively piece of the night, and a fitting end for the concert.

Standing ovation, no doubt.  And after a few rounds of applause, Akamus agreed on playing a nice little encore, a Tambourin from Rameau's Dardanus, a cheerful little tune.  Worth mentioning though, that Concerto Koeln's encore in their concert here last May was actually the finale of the Telemann concerto.  I guess great minds do think alike.......

 Baroque Bassoon

音樂會結束後,音樂家們沒有在現場舉辦簽名活動。這是因為,Berkeley當地的唱片行兼咖啡廳舉辦了一個音樂會之後的茶會,邀請Akamus和聽眾前來參加。這家唱片行叫The Musical Offering,而且裡面的CD還頗齊全,只是偏貴~~~


There was a reception held after the concert by local Berkeley classical record store The Musical Offering.  They hosted the Akamus Berlin and also invited the patrons who attended the concert.   That's me.






Patrons mingling with the musicians



Georg Kallweit, violinist

Raphael Alpermann, harpsichordist.  
Had the pleasure of speaking to him and praised his great playing in the Brandenburg

Christian Beuse, bassoonist

1 comment:

Mingus said...

唉,除了羨慕,已經不知要說什麼了。

我最想聽到現場的德國古樂團三團:唯一聽過的是已解散的 MAK,Concerto Koln 與你這場的Akademie Fur Alte Musik Berlin 都還苦無機會。

我自己的感覺是,古樂團實在不能在過大的場地演出,只要廳精緻小巧,那規模感與低音的「缺陷」或可迎刃而解。

當時的編制,多是以chateau, palace, drawing room, salon,而非現代偌大的音樂廳啊。當時聽眾與樂手們的距離通常也近得多。

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