Making an Effort

To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also. – Igor Stravinsky

23rd October 2015 – Christoph Eschenbach, HKPhil

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Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach

Piano: Tzimon Barto

Orchestra: Hong Kong Philharmonic

Venue: Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Dvorák – Carnival Overture

Gershwin – Piano Concerto in F

Brahms – Symphony no.1

I had wanted to see Christoph Eschenbach conduct for a while as I had seen he had worked with Ray Chen on his recent Mozart album.

The Carnival Overture was a fun way to start this concert. This piece of music is supposed to depict a wanderer coming across a city where a festival is taking place. This is definitely shown with the energetic folk dance feel of the music. The middle section, led by the flute and cor anglais is a much gentler tune, where the wanderer has found a companion. The Overture, soon returns back to lively dance music.

Here is a video of it being performed at the BBC Proms in 2012:

As Tzimon Barto entered the stage, my first impression was that he was quite a striking figure –  tall and broad shouldered. I’m sure he can produce the power needed in some piano concertos like Rachmaninov 3. In typical Gershwin style, the concerto starts with a New York feel to it. Barto played with precision and fimness when the music called for it. Other passages were played sensitively and gently without losing that jazzy theme.

The concert ended with the fabulous Brahms Symphony No. 1 which took Brahms about 21 years to write.

Christoph Eschenbach in rehearsal with HK Philharmonic – Brahms 1

I found this obviously older video of Eschenbach and Barto performing Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. Barto has since ditched the puffy sleeved shirt!

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