Edo de Waart conducts Mahler 6

Edo de Waart’s masterful grip of the orchestra and the music rightfully fits the Time-inspired promotional image (see the right).

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra has never sounded better. The crispy yet forceful tutti low A opens the symphony with a loud blast, yet all the inner details are carefully, confidently attended. So persuasive are the articulations and phrasings. Yet with all the details in mind, the orchestra sometimes sounds too cautious.

de Waart takes a rather slow tempi over all the movements (except the Andante, which is the second movement in this rendition). He also deliberately takes a much weaker dynamic after Mahler left out his third hammer blow. The music isn’t as intensive as it can be. The music sometimes sounds like a news anchor reporting a catastrophe (like this piece).

This is much well delivered than last Mahler sixth that de Waart did some years ago (4 years?). Though, as other de Waart’s Mahlers, his music keeps emotion at a distance.

de Waart is joined by Leo Lee and Louis Lee after the concert for a post-concert talk. While he is asked by the audience which Mahler interpreter has caught him the most, he particularly names Claudio Abbado for his lyrical approach.

After all this we conclude our evening with assorted wine from South Africa, Portugal, Germany and also some traffic tickets unfortunately borne by our respected critic.

Date: February 19, 2011
Venue: Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

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