12 September, 2008


12 September, 2008

HKPO/Dagmar Schellenberger/EdW

For a change, I was sitting much further towards the middle. The sound of the brass and winds were fuller, but the divided strings were weaker.

The opening Midsummer Night's Dream Overture was well played, but good as the strings were, they missed the lightly ethereal quality necessary. On the whole, tidy but missing a mandatory atmosphere of fancy.

It is rare to encounter Berg's Seven Early Songs in concert. The orchestra accompanied lightly and beautifully, but from my seat the soprano Schellenberger, though a good interpreter, did not project well, her dark hue frequently lost in the midst. I asked my friends, and they all did not hear her too well.

The Mahler 1st was well played and offered many moments of insight, but again on the whole missed the mark. The first movement just did not have the dawn/earth awakening element. The second was earth bound and needed some rhythmic pointing. Things improved by the third movement, where there were some lovely playing. While the opening of the fourth was just too careful to be effective, the contrasting slow sections that ensued had moments of beauty. As the various themes returned in disguises gradually the movement lost its focus before rallying for a well-played finale. And so, sanitized Mahler.

10 September, 2008


展览单张 (按图片放大)

王明青是城中有名的才女及节目主持人, 其亚视节目(周日 8:30 am)更是文化沙漠中的奇芭, 不用多介绍。

女仕家族珍藏价值连城的艺术品,这次拿出来的只是明清两朝的东西, 可是质量俱佳, 且甚有趣味性, 值得观赏。


04 September, 2008

Concert Review: Borodin String Quartet

2 September, 2008
City Hall

Borodin String Quartet Haydn/Beethoven/Mozart/Tchaikovsky

What we heard was the newest line-up of the quartet. Their previous appearances in HK and Macau still had one original member, the great Valentin Berlinsky, retired and replaced now by much younger Vladimir Balshin. So the oldest member now is the excellent second-violinist Andrei Abramenkov.

The program was unusual in that it was largely non-Russian. For the first half, Haydn's "Lark" and Beethoven's Op 18/2 were played. From the first notes, it was evident the sound of the quartet is now heading in a different direction. Previously, the inimitable Berlinsky was so strong that the quartet had a prominently rhythmic and bold bass line, countered at the top by the bright and occasionally agressive playing of leader Ruben Aahronian. That was a more dynamic sound, with relatively more recessed inner voices. Now, the new cellist, though a marvelous player, is not as bold sounding, and it seems the other members re-tailored the sound. Now, the four strings are much more blended than before, and the soft playing in unison is astonishing, the best of its kind. Leader Aharonian has tempered his forceful playing a little, and I think even reduced his dynamics, though he remains a little "sharp" for those new to this quartet. Now, a first violin statement is not played that forcefully, but the whole ensemble then raise their volume in a crescendo as if there is only one instrument.

The Haydn and Beethoven were played in an unforcful manner that leaned more towards the romantic. Broad and seamless phrasing were preferred. So while the slower movements were miraculously pure, one may have wished for a more forceful attack at times, in either the Haydn (like me) or Beethoven (like my friends). The Minuet and Scherzo were gentle, but if one listened carefully, one would have noticed a not-so-obvious rhythmic savvy, alien from the kind for display.

The second-half opened with Mozart's E-flat, K428, one of those dedicated to Haydn. The playing was much the same as the first half
, though even better, especially the andante, which was pure and singing. Aharonian was also marginally sweeter in tone. This was followed by a rare item, Tchaikovsky's String Quartet Movement in B-flat, a "quartetsatz".

But the best was saved for last, as encore, an ethereal performance of the Andante Catabile from Tchaikovsky's quartet #1. Not at all milked for its juice or sentimental, in its purity it was profound, and I'd never expect to hear it better played in my life.