Sunday, April 1, 2012

The (Phil)harmonic Tampere 2012 so far: From Williams to Glass

So, guess which live act I still prefer in all of Tampere and Finland? It is of course the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the very few full-size symphony orchestras in Finland. It seems that it can't get any better now. I have discovered the most skilled musicians and most appreciated works of music that have most definitely stood up well against the test of time!

Here is a small recap of what I experienced during January and February. To keep it short I haven't commented on everything.

Jan 13th: Film music by John Williams
Lead by Peruvian conductor Arturo Alvarado, the Philharmonic played an energetic, sold-out show of John Williams' best-known film music, including themes from Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, E.T., Schindler's List, and of course Star Wars. The most memorable moment to me was the theme from Jaws. Just imagine a huge orchestra playing those two notes... Gee, that was cool! I also loved Harry Potter, as well as Schindler's List which was a lot more stripped-down as a whole but all the more beautiful.

Jan 20th: Vivier, Brahms, Stravinsky
Vivier finished writing his cosmic composition Orion in 1980. Compositions as new as this are often very different from the old classics and Orion was no exception. Anything composed in the 20th century can easily be recommended to fans of progressive rock. As for Johannes Brahms, he was a composer whose music is often performed in Tampere these days. He is a popular ”old-school” guy, and piano concerto #2 was indeed a very impressive, even heavy piece of music.

Jan 27th: Olivier Messiaen: Turangalîla
This time the people at Tampere-talo were introduced to French 20th century composer Olivier Messiaen and his long ten-part Turangalîla symphony. Valérie Hartmann-Claverie played ondes martenot, the first widely used electronic instrument. The wailing sound of the instrument was indeed an important part of some of the more sentimental parts of the symphony. All in all, a lot of this piece of art was somewhat challenging to listen to. Still, somehow I got the hang of it and in the end I felt happy. It was a very rewarding listening experience. Sometimes it can be really worthwile to challenge yourself!

Feb 3rd: Sibelius, Mustonen, Prokofjev
This was the first time I heard music from Finland's most famous composer Jean Sibelius played live. Bardi op. 64 was a small, intimate musical poem. I was thrilled to feel the beautiful Finnish landscape in musical form. The main event was Olli Mustonen's first symphony Tuuri, ordered and performed for the first time by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, conductred by Mustonen himself. Tuuri was a charming work, composed to the famous Finnish poet Eino Leino's poetry (Helkavirret). Great music, great lyrics!

Feb 17th: Liszt, Glass, Sibelius
Liszt and Sibelius were really awesome but Philip Glass hit the jackpot with his violin concerto. It was like hypnosis. Glass's harmonies were sometimes (especially at the beginning) bizarre but mostly the music was all about stunningly beautiful, hypnotic, repeating melodies. Repetition, in general, is not the most common feature in classical music but Glass is the master of repetition. However, the music doesn't get boring at all because Glass's melodies are incredibly memorable and the mood is... hypnotic, as well as really dramatic. Listen to the concerto if you already haven't! The first and third movement are really fast and dramatic, and the second part is slow and incredibly, really incredibly touching... Oh my goodness.

Here it is:
1st mov
2nd mov
3rd mov

No comments: