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Concert: Impressions




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.


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Comments:

Anonymous Joe W said . . .

I think I bought a discount recording of the Brno State Phil. once and it was laughably bad. Actually, the worst recording I ever bout was of Carmina Burana played by some Czech orchestra. (I forget which one.) The vocal soloists missed high notes and the trumpets kept cracking their high notes as well. There were times in the recording that instruments were so out of tune they were a quarter tone apart. It was so bad we melted the CD to watch it burn. It was a while before I could bring myself to buy a CD that was played by any Czech group. =) Just thought I would share.    

10:05 PM, December 09, 2005


Blogger Karla said . . .

Hmm, maybe going to this with the physicist rather than the musicologist would have been advisable for more than one reason. Then again, the former might have proved to be tone-deaf, which would have been sadly disappointing. At least you got the collegial discussion this way.    

12:42 AM, December 12, 2005


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