A big week

Last night to hear the SSO, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki, well known from recordings by Japan’s Bach Collegium, perform Haydn’s Creation with soloists and the Sydney Philharmonia.

A portion of the SSO’s subscriber base chooses to stay away if a vocal work is featured.  This is not always made up for by a compensatory influx of choral and vocal enthusiasts.  Clive Paget in his review of Wednesday’s performance described attendance as sparse.  I wouldn’t say it was sparse on Friday but it was a bit patchy, especially at the edges.

Which is a pity, because there was much to enjoy.  The time has come where orchestras, playing on “modern” instruments, can really respond to direction which is inspired by “HIP” (Historically Informed Performance).  That’s mostly a question of the string section and vibrato and bowing, but I also particularly admired the playing of guest wind principals, notably Irit Silver on clarinet from Queensland (could this be a tryout?) and especially Andrew Nicholson, flautist from WASO.  How many years is it since we heard a male flautist in the SSO?

Perhaps my neighbour in the first half was a non-enthusiast who should have stayed away.  She yawned, she fidgeted with her program and flicked backwards and forwards through it.  Did she not know how it ended?  I am my own worst enemy when next to such a person.  At interval I moved to get away from her. As it turned out, quite possibly to get away from me, she went home.

The oratorio follows the Genesis narrative, via Milton.  One peculiarity of this (which I can’t say I’ve ever really thought about before) is the order of creation of animals: first birds, then creatures of the sea, and finally of land.  Insects, including flying ones, came in the final category.

Part III, short and sweet after interval, featured Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It’s hard not to think that more than a bit of this owes something to Milton’s unhappy first marriage, as Eve proclaimed her delight and sole purpose in obeying and serving Adam.  Lydia Teuscher didn’t even pretend to sing this with a straight face. It was left to Allan Clayton (a striking presence, a kind of youthful shaggy prophet on smoko) as Uriel to warn, deadpan, of the perils to come.

 

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: