Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two sorta violin concertos played live: Eotvos' "Seven" and Vaughan Williams' "The Lark Ascending"

Intense, Singing Strings (and some other stuff)

at the service of Eotvos and Vaughn Williams

Peter Eotvos
(UK Premiere)

Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Lark Ascending
(Never played in England before)

Susanne Mälkki - conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra
Akiko Suwanaï - violin

from the Proms 2008 concert
Royal Albert Hall, London, England
27 August 2008

The 2008 Proms 55 included one of those new compositions that caught me immediately, like some of Kurtag's work does, even though this is longer. Peter Eotvos' "Seven" thus runs the usual danger for me of longer pieces where I drift off a bit, yet the instrumental and ensemble lines that emerge are perenially compelling and sometimes transporting one to another plane (more on why that may be below.) Seven can be thought of as a sort of violin concerto.
The Lark Ascending is just plain beautiful music. This performance is wider reaching than most of the usual benchmark rec's under Sir Adrian Boult and, I think, Bryden Thompson.

Fiona Maddocks of London's "The Evening Standard" has more details about the performance, especially regarding Eotvos, who
"should have been at the Proms directing the UK premiere of Seven, his violin concerto commemorating the Columbia space shuttle astronauts who died in 2003. But illness prevented him and the fast-rising Finnish conductor, Susanna Mälkki, stepped in at short notice, drawing playing of flair and subtlety from the Philharmonia.

Eötvös’s two-movement elegy, with soloist Akiko Suwanai, launches straight in on high, with stratospheric violin textures offset by ensemble sounds so tantalising you have to scrutinise each player to work out how the effect is made. Since a keyboard sampler forms part of the mix, you often remain merely bewitched and bewildered.

Creating an unsettling impact, six violinists were positioned around the Albert Hall, their solo voices speaking in signal and response to Suwanai, who continued her journey of poetic rhapsody alone on stage. The sense of figures lost in space was only too vivid, and expertly performed by all.

Suwanai then brought her fluid, seemingly weightless playing to Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. Judging by the large audience this season, Proms director Roger Wright is proving himself an ingenious programme maker. Whether the words “Classic FM” are ever said aloud within the walls of Radio 3 is doubtful, but it won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that The Lark Ascending heads that other station’s Hall of Fame list. To programme this glorious piece of English pastoral next to the Eötvös premiere was nifty, to say the least."

(the program that evening included Ravel's
Scheherazade (w/Sarah Connolly) and Daphnis et Chloe, and Debussy's Prelude a l'Apres-Midi d'un Faune.)

This thanks to fadoze, master of dimeadozen broadcasts, it forms part of his recording #FA2008-179.


Guillermo said...

Scoredaddy said...

Thanks you. This looks quite interesting. I am anxious to hear this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!