Making an Effort

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

13th November, 2015 – Håkan Hardenberger, HK Sinfonietta

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Conductor and Trumpet – Håken Hardenberger

Orchestra – Hong Kong Sinfonietta

Venue: Amphitheatre at Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts

Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E flat

Prokofiev Classical Symphony, Op 25

Ravel Le Tombeau de Couperin

Robert Planel Concerto for Trumpet and Strings

Joni Mitchell Both Sides, Now

Jan Lundgren The Seagull

I invited a couple of friends to come along to this concert. One is an artist and the other a fellow teacher. I was quite excited about going to this concert as it is seldom that we get to hear brass or woodwind concertos in Hong Kong compared to strings or piano. Håken Hardenberger is a well known Swedish trumpet player, who performs with renowned orchestras. I did find the choice of venue surprising though. I’ve been to concerts in the HKAPA amphitheatre before which is quite small and rather underwhelming.

The Haydn concerto started off well and Hardenberger produces a beautiful tone. However, when he was climbing through a phrase, it already felt like he was struggling and as an audience member, to be wondering, “Will he make it!?” decreases the enjoyment of the experience and he struggled to place the high notes which was a disappointment.

The rest of the pieces were conducted by Hardenberger and were pleasant enough and the orchestra performed well. Unfortunately, Hardenberger didn’t make it to another climactic point in the Planel concerto. Having read reviews and knowing this famous trumpeter’s name, I really expected better. I question what could have improved this concert. Was it too much to be conductor and soloist? Had jetlag caught up with him? Maybe this was just an off day.

Here’s a video of Håken Hardenberger performing the Haydn concerto with Yehudi Menuhin conducting in 1998:

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