Radio Filharmonisch Orkest
Jaap van Zweden, dirigent
Vanessa Barkowski, mezzosopraan
Leonard Sökefeld, sopraan
Rihm – Memoria (Drei Requiem-Bruckstücke)
Bruckner – Vierde symfonie in Es ‘Romantische’
The composers’ union arranged for us today to have some free tickets for the Jaap van Zweden concert. I went along with one of my students. As emotionally driven as an Expressionist piece is, the Rihm pushed lots of buttons and I failed to react. I left my motor on for a while and then eventually switched off and started looking at the chandeliers and stretching my legs out. At least we were in the very back row so there was some leg room. I don’t like to speak with any disrespect of colleagues who are living – at least if I have named them – because I know everyone is trying to do their best and I respect that. No doubt this applies to Rihm. So I’ll leave it for others to describe “Memoria” and to explain why it might be regarded as failing in some respects.
At any rate it was unfortunate to couple this music with the radiant work of Bruckner which hardly even knows what vulgarity is. We just have to bow to this man. I wish I could do that in person and kiss his hand. In the superb 4th Symphony, in contrast to the Rihm, the composer seems too restrained even to press anyone’s buttons, let alone to do so ineffectually. But he does affect me, and so deeply. Thank God there are composers like this to look up to. I’m not a critic, so that’s enough on this subject – except that the Groot Omroepkoor sang terrifically in the contemporary piece.
After the concert, my student and I walked from Museumplein through the town and down the shopping street (Kalverstraat). That’s vulgar enough for anyone by the way. We ended up in Dam Square which would be very nice, with its royal palace and all, if it weren’t for the clutter.
I hopped on a tram 14 and came home and went to bed and read my book. I’ve got a nice Scifi book at the moment which features a genetically enhanced squid steering a spaceship to a fictional second Earth moon. Great fun.