Unnoticed notes

More for my own later benefit than anybody else’s, in between (still) the endless claims of looking for a suitable residence I have been to:

  1. SSO – 7 Sep – This had a quiet half and a loud half.  First, Debussy, Prelude d’apres midi etc; Takemitsu, From me flows what you call time (for percussion soloists and orchestra, written for the centenary of the Carnegie Hall) and Copland 3.  I like the quiet the most and had I been able to I would have loved to hear the Takemitsu again.  So many gorgeous sounds, and the music also compelling.  The Copland was enjoyable despite some really scrappy fiddling in the Hoe-down rewrite (forgive me but I find hard to think of the symphony other than a a bigger version of Appalachian Spring).  Liked Robert Spano (conductor).
  2. 18 Sep – OA dress rehearsal of Madama Butterfly – my old friend and former student Db’s mother doesn’t subscribe to the opera but she is a friend and picks up dress rehearsals and the odd rush ticket.  She couldn’t go to this so I got to go.  Probably the 6th or 7th time I’ve seen this (I still have an old American Express card with Cheryl in the title role) but first time from upstairs.  Japanese visiting soprano good as Cio-cio san and probably even better if closer for the acting bit; James Egglestone not yet really up to the mark as Pinkerton though at least he was credible when he took his shirt off; Michael Lewis having difficulties with some of the top notes of Sharpless and subsequently indisposed for the first night.  Dress rehearsals far from ideal way to see opera (all those people with desks and lights in the stalls and extremely chatty types in the lighting box behind us in the circle) but hey it was free and it was good to catch up with Db.
  3. 21 Sep – SSO, Angela Hewitt, Mozart concerto 20 – not really brooding or romantic enough for me; preceded by Dutilleux Mystère de l’instant – tribute to Bartok (string orchestra, percussion and, instead of celeste, cymbalon) which was fascinating and the highlight (for me); followed by Beethoven 4.  Hannu Lintu conducted. I never really got into the groove of the Beethoven, in part because I allowed myself to be distracted by a bunch of Chinese nationals behind me who couldn’t sit still and had jackets and possibly other items of clothing made of incredibly noisy fabric.
  4. 22 Sep – Australia Ensemble, with D and my old friend Ub on tickets usually used by my friend P.  Sculthorpe and Beamish on wind and water combinations (clarinet and piano and flute, oboe and harp respectively), then Beethoven Clarinet Trio.  It was a bit hard to relax in the Beamish because I was right in the line of sight of the harpist looking over her glasses at the music and concentrating rather fiercely.  This made me wonder if, rather in the way that people grow to look like their pets, harpists are possibly rather highly strung: it must be difficult to relax when the sound is all attack and you are endlessly plucking in the way that you must on the concert harp.  Schubert’s Death and the Maiden in the second half was pretty intense in a very satisfying way, especially in the second movement (based on the song).  Ub came away from the concert a convert to sitting up close – she had been to the AE once before but was either too tired or too far away and found it all too much.  I suspect on that occasion, given that I don’t remember running into her there, she may have slipped away at interval, and so missed the Schumann Quintet.
  5. 24 Sep – SSO without the orchestra – Angela Hewitt on her own doing the Goldberg variations drew a full house.  In her program notes she discounted the old Forkel story about Keyserling having the music played to help him get to sleep.  Musicologists discount it because the published work lacks a dedication.  My own experience on this occasion backs them up for a different reason: I found it almost impossible to banish bits of it from my brain in favour of sleep afterwards (a common sign for me of a work making an impact is how it works me up).  Towards dawn and after a quarter of a sleeping pill, the general G-majorishness became oddly merged with the Sarabande from the G Major French Suite.  Then again, maybe things would be different once familiarity and domestic repetition bred content.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: