Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seductive art of noise

Concert: Lachenmann and Bruckner, Salle Pleyel - Paris, November 12 2010

Sylvain Cambreling ..... conductor
Dagmar Becker ..... flute
Frederic Belli ..... trombone
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Schola Heidelberg
An interesting concert took place last Friday at Pleyel. I like Sylvain Cambreling and his openness to contemporary music while cherishing and revisiting the classical pieces. Each time he comes with his SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg  there is one surprise, together with a peculiar performance of some of the classical works.

In the first part of the concert we could listen to Nun for flute, trombone, orchestra and male voices, a work by a contemporary music composer,  Helmut Lachenmann. This "Nun"  [means a sketch] was composed in 1999 and revised in 2003 -- is a very introspective piece of music, the motivation for which the composer found in philosophical works by Kitaro Nishida. 8 male singers are seated around the conductor, and they produce various sounds (amplified!) - keeping the long "s" or "z", brief but loud "ouh"-s ending with loud exhales, rubbing two pieces of polystyrene against each other... Trombonist and the flutist also made weird noises which go in impulses and when they would almost turn into a melody they would cease in a long exhale through the tube of their instruments. And to that add a full symphonic orchestra in the background providing support and depth at the same time. You may ask what it all sounds like?! At the beginning it sounds like a record played backwards (and with irregular speed), but soon you feel like you were let in on and you start feeling the beat. After 10 minutes you even feel the walls of your own prejudice fall and you open to this peculiar genre that very much reminds you of Jackson Pollock-kind of paintings. This is entirely  a different experience in live performance compared to listening to this music recorded, but if you feel like tempted to check it out here are 4 YT-videos of the whole piece: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. In the end the composer himself came to congratulate maestro Cambreling and all the performers one by one.

Lachenmann and Cambreling congratulate each other.

It was a pleasure to see a large auditorium of La Salle Pleyel nicely filled up with contemporary music aficionados, among whom we recognized Gérard Mortier.

In the second part they performed the Bruckner's 3rd (Wagner Symphony) which is the one they did not record yet. A very good performance but I am not sure I was able to fully appreciate it after the music by Lachenmann which had set me into a different kind of mood (although the organizers explained in the notice a link between the Lachenmann's Nun and Bruckner's 3rd )

Note that in fall of 2012, Sylvain Cambreling will take over the music direction of Staatsoper Stuttgart.

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