Alastair Macaulay returns with his ongoing reviews of Slipisc for the 75th season at the Philharmonia Orchestra:
Philharmonic Orchestra Sunday 16 January 3 p.m. Bach, Haydn, Mozart
by Alistair Macaulay
With its concert on Sunday afternoons in the Royal Festival Hall, the Philharmonia Orchestra began in 2022 in the eighteenth century – this
To say, with Bach, Haydn and Mozart, three of the greatest composers of all time. The conductor of the orchestra was the pre-Romantic Belgian teacher
Music, Philip Herwig. Her soloist, for Haydn’s Cello Concerto #1 in Main Repertoire. 30, was Stephen Isles.
Although only a few instruments were in the Baroque style – notably trumpets and kettle instruments – the sound of the entire orchestra was changed: bright, tender, spruce. The wind instruments were great. It doesn’t recline by 18th century standards.
The concert began with Bach’s fourth orchestral suite, BWV 1069 in D major, which opened with one of Bach’s most stunningly orchestrated chords. These trumpets sound like festive trumpets on a wonderful long-lasting harmony. Part of the rich texture, Kettledrums take on a very thoughtful pace (much more so than in Bach’s third set). It’s the strings and woody winds that then make us feel like the ground is moving from under our feet and that the light is changing dramatically with every second.
Herreweghe, who will turn 75 this year, handles great fingers, elbows and knees. It is often as if
A spectator, calmly observing a natural process, gently responds to it with little twists of the trunk and pelvis. Every now and then, he leads a ferry with a small but small movement of the right hand. Sometimes an orchestral figure seems to ripple beneath him
From wrist to heel. Once past the long Ouverture, this suite tackles the successive French dance forms of Bach’s Day: Bourrée, Gavotte and Minuet, before the final Réjouissance. Bach deals with these matters with remarkable energy: the pulse of the dance is always lively. But this isn’t dance floor music; Especially in this suite, Bach conjures dance only to get past it – he sees the balls dancing.
A similarly strong impulse begins Haydn’s first cello concerto. The relationship of cello and orchestra here is constantly changing
courses. Now the soloist weaves lines slower or faster around the group, and now the main event becomes the motivating factor that
The orchestra adds rhythmic accompaniment.
With essirlis, long, single notes (usually kept without vibrato) over and over again became tense at the top of the orchestral action. Elsewhere was the engine, the furnace that drove the concerto. He lost some of the suspense in the middle of the second movement – but then re-established his spell with a cool, varied meditative cadenza, and then definitely drove home all the way.
The concert concluded with Mozart’s 39th Symphony at K543 Main E Flat. This is one of the masterpieces in which the composer experiences the amount of drama and violence a symphonic form can take without losing elegance and wit. Not unlike Bach in that fourth wing, he started
With powerful chords resounding for a full orchestra, with drums; He, too, uses his threads to change moods, in this case with
successive celestial scales. Herreweghe created this with a magical blend of tenderness and strength.
This symphony continues to return to a sense of tragic crisis, but from different points of view. Both lyrical and pure
Mozart aspects here. Perfect sequences are threatened by a sense of crisis. The music is the quietest in the second movement when
Phrases cross from side to side with the orchestra with a question-and-answer connection, without reaching any real resolution.
The third movement alternates with two kinds of three-quarter rhythm: a stunning country one and something totally gentler,
Even condolences. Humor is never absent here – but strength ends with winning the day. However, the main melodic phrase ends with a steady rise: Herreweghe gave this a beautiful diminution, as if to show something rising out of sight. And the last movement is a
Energy Triumph. Tragedy and fun coexist powerfully with ingenuity. Herreweghe drove it like a winning wagon driver that never broke
Nietzsche, in one of his complaints about Wagner, argued that you cannot dance to Wagner’s music as you can dance to anything by Mozart. I have accepted this idea so far. Not after this party. As early as Bach, German and Austrian composers thought of dance rhythms not for the feet but for the mind and soul. These guys were writing dance music too great for anyone to dance to.
Alistair Macaulay is the former chief dance critic for The New York Times.