Last night was my second encounter with the Münchner Philharmoniker this year, and before this, it was two summers ago when I visited München, Salzburg, Milano, Paris and London. I remembered loving this city because of all its cultural activities, and it is finally all coming back now after the summer break.
Wednesday evening was Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Gärtnerplatztheater. The production was a little cheap but smart. There were not too much of set changing, but rather with changes of the painting on the wall as indication of the scene change. Act II was pretty nicely put together after “a little boring” second half of Act I. Maestro was mostly in control, but there’s something awkard with his preparation for off-beat especially a 16th rest.
Münchner Philharmoniker played Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms and Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem with Philharmonischer Chor München. The choir makes perfect sound, particularly the resonance they create as a whole group. It is a timbre that I have yet heard in live performance. As a German trained choir, it is distinctive to hear the ending of each syllable loud and clear. However, the cosonants at the front were not carefully articulated like the end. Is it because they are trying to avoid a harsh beginning that might distort the beautiful vowel sounds?
Well, I love when there are 10 5-string basses playing in the Symphony of Psamls. The low C with bass trombone is just satisfying! I wish Maestro would go to them more often so they could give even more to the sonority.
One should notice that the principal oboe, who played in both Stravinsky and Brahms used two different timbres. She played the Stravinsky with brighter tone color and faster vibration while it was slower and fatter in Brahms.
As clear as he is known for, Maestro Maazel was not able to be in control during fugal sections, which occurred in both Stravinsky and Brahms. There was a sense of out of control in both pieces as I thought Maestro was rushing a little bit, and the ignorance of bass section, which is always dragging stayed behind him at all time.
It is good to be in a city where there is always performances going on. In two weeks and I’ll be back in Cincinnati again.