Saturday, November 03, 2012

Excellent ado about a huge nothing. Brno wins!

Last night: brilliant performance by Brno Philharmonic of Mahler's least spectacular symphony, his 7th. It had its premiere in Prague in 1908, conducted by the composer. And shortly after in Munich and Holland. It confused the public and critics alike then. And me now. I had been wondering why I hadn't heard it before, as 1 2 3 4 5 and 6 are amongst my favourites of the entire repertoire. Everyone else in the world loves 8 except me. But 7 is much ado about nothing - almost down there with Bruckner.

The orchestra was outstanding. What a noise they made. And quite beautifully phrased and everything. But for what? One of the violinists told me afterwards that it took a whole week of rehearsals and this second performance before she felt it made any sense to her at all.

The audience on Thursday night roared and stamped and cheered. The audience last night stood and applauded at great length. Aleksander Markovich, our resident conductor, appeared deeply moved by the reception.  And well he might.

Does it not declare the sophistication of a city? That two full houses pay quite a lot for tickets to a concert with one long work only, and are moved to express such appreciation. This speaks very loudly for mature society.

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