Sunday, October 26, 2008

BRAHMS

Last night the Colorado Symphony performed the Brahms Violin Concerto under guest conductor Peter Oundjian with soloist Elina Vähälä. The orchestra sounded great this week; even better than last week. The string section sounded full and rich. the conductor kept the orchestra together well.

It's a strange hall, with the orchestra in the center as in a theater-in-the-round, which means some people are sitting behind the orchestra. And the hanging lights are glass-covered, so there is a lot of reflected sound. Yet for some reason it sounded better this week.

ADDED NOTES:

In response to the question added as a comment:

Boettcher Hall is unique. It was in fact designed to be a theater-in-the-round, but that's an acoustical disaster. They did a redesign in 1993, but they are hoping to do a major renovation in a few years as part of a bond initiative. However, they are counting on $30M in donations as part of the funding, and with the economic changes, it's unlikely they will get that any time soon.

As for photos of the hall, I did not take any, and you are asked to refrain from taking photos. However there are a few sites that will show the layout:


This site has some thumbnails on the top row you can click on to see the hall:

http://www.artscomplex.com/pages/photogallery.html



Back to the concert review:

The soloist was good but not perfect. Early on there were some intonation problems. Her rhythm was a little loose, and the articulation on the runs was sloppy at times. However, she had an absolutely gorgeous sound and was a great soloist.

The evening opened with a lively reading of the overture to The Magic Flute. That was followed by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 5 in D major. The conductor spoke in great detail about how it's not like other Vaughan Williams, and I was suddenly hopeful that it would not be as boring as I expected. I was wrong. This snoozefest was, in the words of my wife, "only slightly more interesting than elevator music."

However, it was still a good concert.
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