Last night I heard the Brno State Philharmonic at the Janáčkovo divadlo. The hall is not so great. It reminds me of Corson Auditorium at Interlochen. It's not bad either. But the musicians seem to have trouble hearing from the back to the front of the stage. There were lots of strange intonation issues and untogether entrances. They played Shostakovich's Suite op. 145a, "Six songs after Michaelangelo." The bass soloist (singer) was great. But while the strings were suitably icy and static for Shostakovich generally, the bass solo (double bass) was rather weak and tentative. Considering that the entire bass section used the German-style bowhold (which is supposed to give a more aggressive sound), this was odd. The second half was Brahms's 4th Symphony. This was overall OK, but the last movement was rather brisk and it seemed under-rehearsed. I suppose it's one of those "war-horse" pieces that gets played so much they don't think they need to work on it. The conductor, Petr Altrichter, was too theatrical and seemed not to help the orchestra very much. The woodwinds (barring the principal bassoon) were generally offensively out of tune and played with insensitive tone. The clarinetist in particular had an unremarkable tone that could've been so much warmer and friendlier. The trombones were very good. Unfortunately there is no tuba in Brahms 4.
Tags: music, symphony, Brno.