總瀏覽量

2015年1月11日 星期日

Four cheers for Thomas Dausgaard, Behzod Abdurarimov & the HKPO (為道斯加德,阿貝都萊默及港樂四聲高呼)

Shakespeare once said, "if music be the food of love, play on." But one may also say, "If one loves music, play on". This thought came to me whilst listening to Thomas Dausgaard conducting the HKPO last night at the Cultural Centre. I do not know if one can really exude music. If that is possible at all, then the body of Dausgaard certainly did so. To get a feel of the changing mood of the music, one only has to look at his back, his arms, his legs, his hands, his fingers, the baton he holds and his head: the way he ducks when the orchestra should play more softly, the way he forcefully brings  his head up and down or swings from side to side and then up in rapid succession in excitement, as if his head were his hand when the orchestra should play more in fortimissimo or with passion, the way his hands describes graceful curves in the air, the way he arches his back as the tension should be subdued, the way his tall body sinks or sags when the music should be played in pianissimo, the way he faces a section of the orchestra which is to start provisionally to play a guiding role, the way he points his baton to a particular soloist when the latter should jump in with his notes for a certain passage and the way his whole body supports the relevant mood to be portrayed by the music a spectacle all by itself. One literally feels Dausgaard's complete absorption in the music and his passion to make the music come alive for the audience and touch their soul. And the malleable HKPO seemed to respond wonderfully to Dausgaard's visceral promptings and his passion to make good music. To me, The result is a kind of concert which I haven't heard for quite some time; a concert which moves me and had me completely enraptured as if a spell had been cast on me, oblivious to everything else except the sound from that marvelous orchestra and the ever changing images of Daugaard's literal "embodiment" of his very unique interpretation whatever music of the composer he is conducting, paying meticulous attention to the sound to be evoked from each section of the orchestra , from each musical instrument, whilst always mindful of the overall balance of the sound. I don't know where Daugaard learned the art of conducting but wherever or whoever he learned it from, the conducting style which springs into my mind when I heard him is Celibadache. They share so many things in common except in appearance: he's rather more presentable. 

The first piece of the evening is Mendelssohn's "overture" which is not an overture to any opera but more a tone poem: his Hebrides, more popularly known as "Fingal Cave Overture", written in 1830 and premiered in 1932, a piece of music inspired by his visit to the cave on the island of Staffa, just off the coast of the Hebrides Archipelago in Scotland.  It's mood music. In this piece, Mendelssohn sought to express hi impression of the desolation he felt on the island, the undulating motion of the waves as they lap the rocky coast one after the other, the sprays they create etc., He's not concerned to express any particular "message" or thematic subject. The music itself has become its own subject.  I never heard the piece performed with more balance and perhaps for that reason felt the relevant mood more vividly. Listening to the music, I seemed transported to that magical and mesmerizing island, that cave.




The next piece is completely different: Rachmaninoff's very romantic and passionate Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op 30. Performing the piano solo for us is a young Russian from Tashkent: Behzod Abduraimov. His interpretation of the piece is really careful and sensitive to all the nuances of the music and not at all bombastic and brash, like Lang Lang. He plays always with a studied restraint but somehow I feel that his left hand notes  could sound just  a trifle too loud at times, thus clouding the clarity of the right hand notes and he could have played with slightly more power in certain passages. But I like his rather more restrained interpretation which leaves something for the imagination, suggestive rather than too explicit. The orchestral accompaniment is almost perfect: there is constant "call and response" as in jazz music, each sensitive to the other. The orchestra seldom overshadow the soloist, the two creating a sense of unity and completeness which neither alone could achieve by itself. Sometimes, one gets the impression that it's a symphony rather than a concerto, with the piano being given a more prominent role than the others except of course for the cadenza, when Abduraimov could fully express himself his own way. The most important thing is that he played with feeling and is not at all concerned, unlike some pianists, about displaying his own pianistic virtuosity than being merely the servant of the relevant music. This shows also in the encore mood piece he played for us.



The final piece of the evening is another very unusual piece: Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme: Enigma Op 36 which started off as fun pieces in which he improvised on the piano his interpretation of the different personality of some of his friends based on an original theme, pieces which he later turned into full orchestral pieces. He would just name each piece with the relevant initials followed by 3 asterisks: his wife, a pianist friend, an actor, a country gentleman, an amateur pianist with a sense of humor, a viola pupil, another energetic pianist and a friend living in a period house, a friend who's name means "hunter", a stuttering friend, another organist friend who likes to throw a stick for his dog to retrieve and which then barks upon its return, a cellist who inspired Elgar later to write his cello concerto, another friend who was then on a sea voyage and finally Elgar himself; in short, all tone poems of different personalities. In this collection of 14 variations, Elgar shows himself to be the creative artist that he truly is. It's with this collection that he established himself internationally as a composer not to be lightly ignored. In this piece,

It's music as it should be:  concerned with nothing but the portrayal of the ebb and flow of all kinds of sentiments, emotions and moods otherwise inexpressible except through  the complex texture of different kinds of sound, with its different intensity, its different pitches, its harmonics, its speed, its rhythm and even its silences all artfully combined in just the right proportions by the right kind of interpreters led by an excellent conductor who has his own ideas about how the music should be played. Hence 4 cheers for Thomas Dausgaard, Behzod Abdurarimov & the HKPO. I'm grateful to them all for a most satisfying evening of live music.


.