Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How does thee appreciate classical music?


Last weekend, my husband and I received tickets to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) to watch the final offering of MPO's Beethoven Symphonies series for 2012/2013 conducted by Claus Peter Flor.

Let me be frank with you.

Despite knowing WHO Beethoven is, I am not a true fan, and I say this in all kind honesty and not to discredit this musical extraordinaire - I say this because I did not have the privilege of learning about classical music like most of my peers who studied piano/violin/etc and classical music, hence me not being a "fan". But my husband (a jazz fanatic) and I were open to this invitation after listening to the acoustics at the MPO with a wonderful performance by Lewis Pragasam months back.

Being a bit of a "kill-joy" (as my husband sometimes refers me to), I went about researching about this performance. ( I do this with movies -- I need to know the synopsis and the cast/crew involved prior to watching the movie; where else my husband can be quite content on watching a movie based on just the title and look & feel of the poster)

I'm guessing the title "Towering 9th" was given because of its  towering culmination to all of Beethoven's greatest symphonies? I found out later it's because it's based on Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. (Oooooohhhh!)

"Occasionally referred to as the Choral Symphony, the 70-minute work is widely regarded as universal music that gives voice to humanity."

Whoa. 70-minutes?

Like Opera and Ballet, you either hate or love it.

Getting dressed up and driving ALL the way to the MPO, I was hoping for the latter.

The MPO collaborated with the Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir and the beautifully, talented soprano Ms Susanne Bernhard. Joining them is German tenor Dominik Wortig, baritone Detlef Roth as well as American mezzo-soprano, Ms Katherine Rohrer -- all of whom have had intense experiences in the operatic world and have joined forces with prominent orchestras from all around the world.



Susanne Bernhard
She has showcased her amazing voice prowess in Zurich, Sao Paulo, Paris and Japan and has made numerous recordings of spiritual songs and arias.

FYI: An ARIA (Italian for air; plural: arias in common usage, diminutive form ARIETTA) in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term became used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice, with or without orchestral accompaniment, normally part of a larger work. The typical context for arias is opera, but vocal arias also feature in oratorios and cantatas.
(TQ Wikipedia)

Dominik Wortig
Highly demanded as an opera and concert singer at prestigious festivals, recordings and broadcasts. He performs mostly all imporant lyric tenor roles.
(He looks like someone I could hang out with)

Detlef Roth
A noble voice with a flair for comedy (you should stalk his website, check out his On-stage pictures -- pretty cool!)
Roth has sung operatic works composed by Beethoven, Haydn, Mahler, Schubert and Schumann.

Katherine Rohrer
Known for her warm, expressive tone and dramatically emotional performances. She has gained critical acclaim for her performaces in La Damnation, Les Contes, A Midsummer's Night's Dream and Lady Macbeth.

My verdict?
I am so glad I went. I have a new-found respect and admiration for classical music now. There were some instances where I could just close my eyes and imagine a very intense Beethoven standing a few metres away from me. 
I found this picture of the (ironically) deaf music composer and pianist the most pleasant one. 

I am glad I did some research prior to the show, so I could listen (and truly listen) to the dynamics of the instruments, the singing, the melody. I could hear the strings, the woodwinds, the percussions. At times, I tried to pick out an individual instrument (the violins, flute and cello were my faves) and then imagined myself as a character in a fairytale or movie. It was fun that way.
We Malaysians are so blessed to have such a hall that takes its inspiration from the traditional shoe-box shape of the great 19th century European concert halls. Acoustics experts Kickegaard and Associates have definitely done an amazing job in incorporating unique acoustical devices into the design to maximise the hall's natural qualities.
As Bryn Terfel, the Welsh bass-baritone star says of the MPO: 
 "[DFP] excels in its wonderful acoustics and good lighting that creates a very intimate setting. I only wish I could put the hall in my pocket and take it with me everywhere I perform. It is truly a pearl in the Malaysian musical heritage"
while violinist Sarah Chang proclaimed:
"This is a wonderful hall! Malaysians are fortunate to have such a good hall."
I agree with them both.

Can't wait for my next outing at the MPO this Sunday. Will keep you posted luvlies!

x

ps: Now I know the music genius behind Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata. 
To a more cultured me. =)












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