Friday, May 27, 2011

Four Concerts. Four Days. Day Two.

National Concert Hall: Alan Buribayev conducts Richard Strauss and Sergei Rachmaninov

The second day was a Friday, which meant that I found myself at the National Concert Hall to see the National Symphony Orchestra playing Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra. This is of course the music we all know from the film 2001 and from whenever particularly bombastic music is required to accompany visual images. Beyond that it is a somewhat odd piece of music. The bit everyone knows is right at the beginning, and after that the piece becomes a lot less bombastic (which might be just as well, as I think audiences would explode if the opening level of attack were maintained throughout the piece). The rest is far more restrained, albeit with occasional hints of the beginning's sturm und drang. The piece actually trails off in a quietness completely at odds with the opening, possibly reflecting the work by Nietzsche that inspired it.

The National Symphony Orchestra were being conducted by Alan Buribayev, the Kazakh conducting sensation. He gave good jumping around conductor action, particularly during the opening of the piece.

I also enjoyed the Rachmaninov piece that came after the interval – a choral number from 1913 called The Bells. But the night for me was all about Zarathustra.

An inuit panda production

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