02 November 2013

Charity Concert with András Schiff and Hanno Müller-Brachmann

It has been a while since I attended a musical event. When I checked my blog, the last time I used the Music tag to categorize a blog post describing a music event I attended was back in December 2012, when I blogged about the Evgenia Rubinova Piano Recital. So I figured it was time to take advantage of Berlin's rich musical scene, and therefore I recently had the opportunity to attend one of the concerts that was part of Musikfest Berlin 2013. This time, I attended a charity concert where pianist András Schiff and bass-baritone singer Hanno Müller-Brachmann were performing. Of course, my attendance was also due to the encouragement I had from a couchsurfer I had that week, who happens to be very passionate about classical music.

The program for the night consisted of four pieces. The first piece was by Béla Bartók, his Suite for Piano, Op. 14. I am familiar with Bartók (his string quartets are among my most favorite quartets), but I am not familiar with this piece. The pianist seemed very much acquainted with it however, and he delivered well. However, perhaps most of the audience (me included) were not familiar with the piece, and therefore we didn't know whether it was already finished or not, and the pianist still had his hand on the keyboard, and therefore there was a long time before the applause happened. I suppose the pianist was surprised we didn't applaud fast enough, that he seemed a little frustrated and even made a weird gesture.

The second piece was a song cycle by Antal Doráti, entitled The Voices. The text was based from the works of Rainer Maria Rilke, and therefore was in German. This was another modern piece, I am not familiar with this at all, and so it was very much eye-opening to me. Again, we didn't know whether the piece was already finished or not, and therefore the applause was a little late in coming. I suppose Berlin audiences know that one would rather delay the applause than give a half-hearted applause when it is not called for yet.

After the intermission, the pianist on his own came out again, playing Leoš Janáček's On an Overgrown Path. I am actually familiar with this piano suite, not because I have played it before, but because a pianist who was a faculty in the University at Buffalo performed this piece a few times in some of his recitals. The latter half of this concert featured music that was earlier than the former half.

The final piece was Modest Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death, which is a song cycle for bass-baritone and piano. I loved this piece, and it had a good performance factor, displaying the full deep and dark vocal range of the lower male register. This piece as well as the Bartók piece were my favorite pieces of the night, and I am glad I attended this concert.

This concert was actually a charity concert for Human Rights Watch, and in the beginning, there was a little spiel about Human Rights Watch and their campaigns in various countries. I suppose by attending this concert, I provided some support to this organization.

This was also the first time I attended an event in the Philharmonie. This venue is the home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, but there are two halls, the Grand Hall, and the Chamber Music Hall. This concert was held in the latter, so I still haven't seen the big hall, but that will change soon, so watch out for upcoming updates!

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