Tuesday, August 16, 2016


We've watched the Mahler 4 and you have a couple of more days to see it free. I recommend it. And don't forget there's the Berg Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust in half a space suit. There is more audience noise than we had (the night before) unless the mikes were picking it up

The Mahler speaks for itself, but quickly: I thought the orchestra very good; Harding extremely facially animated and interesting to watch face on after the wonderful balletic total body look as seen from the stalls; the tempi are the thing, stretched to their limits - especially the first movement (marked not rushed) coming full-on brisk and frisky, and the third (somewhat slowly) is etiolated with a delicacy yet strength worthy of a spider's web, the sheer beauty of it alone worth hanging on to (and I teared up again, and had to walk around a bit thinking how Mahler had finally got a glimpse of the other side) before a very grand climax; and the details of Christina Landschamer's lovely vocals are actually the better for the recording process -she was double miked (Sydney soloists only get a single I think). The miking was generally close.

I'm tempted to say they are taking on the Berliners - new hall, same name, resident orchestra, and now live broadcasting, which the French turn out to be very good at, and very photogenic to boot.

The biggest difference is probably the camera work. The French are hands-on and hand controlled (vs remote) and it shows. Nine camera people are listed in the credits, although I don't know how many cameras were used, but nine is a lot if there were. The camera angles are good and the general feeling is that much more personal.

The close ups were exceptional, well cued musically, and some lovely framing - the face of a cellist (say) with the bowing of the cellist behind also in the shot giving a human multi-screening effect. Plus things like lovely lips on reed, bow on strings, player and the score. The sound is very clean.

For something really fun, watch this organ recital.

The organ console sits centred on the concert platform, connected to the electronics by a single cable. K loved this - sooo digital. Most of the pipes are behind a 'scrim' and can only be seen from the hall by special lighting, with the opportunity for stunning visual effects - spotlit organist, a slash of red across the hall, ghosty blue organ recess, etc

(from our high up seats on the first visit)

And the puppy slept at our feet for the whole thing.

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