Great Music series announced with really big names

The governmental music presenter Leisure and Cultural Services Department is subtly promoting its Great Music 2011/12 series with a roll of eye-open-wide big names including Wiener Philharmoniker, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Anne Sofie von Otter and Murray Perahia.

No, the picture at the right is not the Wiener Philharmoniker. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, founded by the Italian colossus Claudio Abbado, is coming to Hong Kong in June 5. This is the most surprising one and is among the list the most anticipated. Mr. Abbado handpicked musicians to join the orchestra during his tenure and made this one of the most vivid and energetic orchestras in the world. The average age of the orchestra members is 29. Mr. Abbado is more than thrice as old as that. I won’t mind him to come to drastically boost up that number. I will die for a ticket.

Vienna Philharmonic came some five years ago under Valery Gergiev and in these years we have seen Mr. Gergiev twice. The VPO was good. The hall was partly the obstacle of making a great orchestra sounds marvellous. Well of course it’s also me to blame with a seat behind the orchestra out of that historic-high price tag. $1,800 (roughly USD 230) was not the highest in record but was at the time a talk of the town.

Anne-Sophie Mutter will kick off the season with a recital with sonatas by Mendelssohn, Debussy and Mozart in May. Why no Brahms? Their recorded Brahms was simply supreme.

On roster is another easily confused Anne Sofie, who will sing in October. 2011 will be remembered as a star-studded year with vocalists like von Otter and Cecilia Bartoli coming. In the course of two weeks there will also be Murray Perahia and Itzhak Perlman. Pianist fans should not miss Tchaikovsky-award-winner Nikolai Demidenko recital as well, in late September. All of them are first-timers to Hong Kong, if my memory serves. [It’s too dangerous to rely on my memory. Demidenko came in 2004.]

Concertgoers won’t be bored this year.

MCO Photo © Sonja Werner

Update: On the MCO programme there will be Mahler 4 and some Wunderhorn songs. Also Blumine, the discarded movement from Mahler 1. Daniel Harding conducts.

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