13 November 2023

Seriously satisfying students

Gewandhaus Orchestra touring in China, sad. Orchestral concert in Gewandhaus, check. Brahms and Bartok, check. Admittedly it was a Hochschulsinfonieorchester, a university level student orchestra but we weren't disappointed. This was a capable orchestra performing in the Gewandhuas, not the Berlin Phil but sehr gut none-the-less and a really interesting program. The orchestra numbered about 70 in full strength for the Reinecke with 5 bassists. The program was Reinecke Symphony no.3 Gmin, Brahms concerto for cello and violin op.102 Amin and Bartok Wonderful mandarin suite Sz73. Reinecke was a known name but not a known piece. He was the director of the Gewandhaus orchestra for 35 years in the late 1800s and currently enjoying his 200th anniversary. Great piece! Variously busy and frenetic then calm and idyllic. I wondered if it spoke of machine versus nature. Then the Brahms cello and violin concerto that NCO played in Llwewllyn. From the first notes, an expressive and attractive piece. And Bartok, a known name but not particularly known to Megan or me. I'd expected atonality and modernism but got something more lyrical although still powerful. And the orchestra did it all proud. They suffered from the eternal problem of being too loud for the soloists, that's both hard and common, but otherwise their swells were a delight, their dynamics luscious, their sense of timing lovely. I often measure timing with bass pizz and it was good, although the pizz volume wasn't always there. Intonation was great except maybe a few minor spots. The soloists were very good, especially the cello to my ears, if again maybe not too powerful. So not at all let down by a student orchestra in lieu of the Gewandhaus in the Gewandhaus. Much enjoyed and something learnt.

The Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig performed Reinecke, Dvorak and Bartok in the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, under Matthias Foremny (conductor) with soloists Johanna Schreiber (violin) and Jonas Palm (cello).

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