Music and Vision homepage Sponsor an article - share it online and reward the author. Music and Vision


<<  -- 4 --  Bill Newman    BERLIN FESTIVAL DIARY


I cannot remember a recital that contained all three chamber works by Zoltán Kodály, let alone featured three different cellists. In a 'change of artists' event -- Heinrich Schiff was supposed to play, but sent two of his pupils to take his place -- Claudio Bohrquez, who studied under David Geringas, played the early Sonata with his mother Anna Maria at the piano. As I listened, I thought that I had never known the piece to possess such beauties, certainly not evident in the various versions on disc. Claudio's autumnal sonorities caught the atmosphere quite beautifully, whilst Anna Maria's eloquent tonal matchings and precise ensemble playing were the perfect complement. On bounded Gautier Capuçon for the Solo Sonata -- within ten seconds I knew this was going to be a very fine, even the promise of a great performance, not because of his total command and control but his knowledgeable pacing and grading of leading and answering phrases that build so resplendently throughout. Staying in tune holds no problems for this young man. Here are the makings of a Rostropovich, Starker, Tortelier and Fournier.

Sister and brother Hanna and Bruno Weinmeister concluded with the Duo for violin and cello Op 7, immensely exciting of its own accord, but quite superb in this instance. Here again was music making of matching qualities. Quite simply this was the outstanding chamber recital of the series.

'Lange Nacht' was the title for the evening event the same day, devoted to music of South Korean composer Isang Yun, who died in Berlin in 1995, aged 88, and the ever-popular Heinz Holliger. Yun had initial studies in Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo, and went on to work in Paris, Berlin, the USA and Japan. I am not familiar with his music, but there are obvious affinities with Schoenberg, Bartók, Debussy and Stravinsky, covering a wide spectrum of knowledge and styles that embrace variation form, colour symmetries and rhythmic devices that become involved in his compositional techniques.

Quite often one hears defined swoops, slides and trills as part of Yun's traditional oriental makeup, but the overall effect is much greater than the sum of its parts, complex patterns which become the subject of intense development often used to create lifelike images of quite startling effect, like the first of Inventions for two oboes, that sounded to me like mayhem in the hen house. The two protagonists -- Heinz Holliger and Lucas Macias Navarro -- rattled off high tension statements so fearsomely fast that it was a wonder they didn't run out of breath or lose rhythmic pulse.

Espace 1 was the expert vehicle for Muriel Cantoreggi's sweeping, ardent playing, whilst cellist Bruno Weinmeister added further laurels to his afternoon performance with Glissées and Königliches Thema. Five Pieces for the piano -- Stefan Veselka, and Nore came next, the half ending with East-West Variations by all parties, meticulous to play and rewarding to listen to.

Holliger's compositions demand utmost concentration from performers, yet like all true musicians he writes works to fulfil their gifts, which also matches their personalities. Trema has versions for violin (Cantoreggi), viola -- the supremely gifted and beautiful Genevieve Strosser, and cello (Weinmeister). I was amazed how the tonal body of each instrument and the interpretive skills of each performer imparted quite different meanings to the same music, but close proximity here made obvious what is taken as commonplace, listening to a wide gamut of performances weeks, months, or years apart in concert halls the world over. Präludium, Arioso und Passacaglia introduced me to the wonderful playing of harpist Sarah O'Brien, and there was graceful duet playing by her and Navarro in Un Bouquet de Pensées und Scherzinettino, joined by Strosser in the Trio for oboe, viola and harp. Before the final piece -- Souvenirs de Davos -- Holliger paid tribute to the artists in turn.

Continue >>

Copyright © 12 December 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





 << Music & Vision home           Polish State Opera >>