19 October, 2014

Concert Review HKPO Sinaisky

scmpost_16oct14_ns_russian1_46194443.jpg Pic of Vasily Sinaisky in SCMP interview.

Concert Review: HKPO-Sinaisky

October 18, 2014, CCCH
HKPO-Vasily Sinaisky

Vasily Sinaisky stood in for injured Jaap. See the interesting SCMP interview.

Sinaisky conducted without a baton, and as usual with this breed, warm sound and relaxed music-making take priority over precision and drama.

I have always been lukewarm to Tchaikovsky's Suites, including the one on the program, No. 4, "Mozartiana", which received a warm reading. HKPO rarely succeeds in portraying the lighter and airy side of Tchaikovsky, and indeed the performance was somewhat earthbound. Best was the immaculate solo of concertmaster Wang Jing, which had breath and depth beside tonal beauty.

Mahler received a performance that is the antithesis of most approaches, including those of Jaap van Zweden and Edo de Waart. Eschewing tempo and dynamic exaggerations that mar many Mahler performances (such as Jaap's Mahler 1 and 4), Sinaisky's way with Symphony No. 5 was more straightforward, with generally fast tempi. The lack of lingering, and hence ruefulness and regret, gave the proceedings a much warmer hue and positive tone than usual. Largely bereft of angst, I'd think the reading will divide Mahlerians. I myself have mixed feelings.

The outer movements worked reasonably well with the fast tempi and even approach, but the sprawling scherzo could have used more characterization. The adagietto was very beautifully done, not sentimental at all, as it should be. In this performance, one noticed the warmth of strings. The woodwinds were less ideal. The brass played strongly even if the lead trumpet was shaky at first. I do not quite like the rather nervous bass drum playing of Luce (I prefer Woo).

Audience response was tremendous.

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