I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Leipzig Gewandhaus dazzles but fail to move in Brussels

Thomas Larcher: Chiasma
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, KV 550
Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 “Pathétique”

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Andris Nelsons
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 29 April 2018

Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor and Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” form quite a formidable pairing in concert. Emotional music that packages beauty with nostalgia and sadness, yet expressed in such an individual manner that performing the symphonies back to back proves extra challenging. In Brussels, on his maiden tour as Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Andris Nelsons faced that challenge with brilliant and often spectacular readings, which were dazzling rather than moving.

Read the full review on Bachtrack


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Janine Jansen’s Tchaikovsky

Paul Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35
Robert Schumann: Symphony #4 in D minor, Op. 120

Janine Jansen, violin
Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Antonio Pappano
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 4 March 2015

It was a packed and enthusiastic Centre for Fine Arts that greeted Sir Antonio Pappano, leading his Roman Orchestra della Santa Cecilia. Their visit guaranteed a notable Italian presence but of course music lovers in Brussels also fondly remember the glory days of the Monnaie Opera when Pappano headed it for some ten years before moving to London’s Royal Opera House in 2002. As it turned out, however, this evening it was Dutch violinist Janine Jansen who quickly became the focal point, delivering the most remarkable performance in an otherwise unremarkable concert.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Venezuelan Wall of Sound

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony #5 in C minor, Op. 67
Richard Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (fragments)
Julián Orbón: Tres versiones sinfónicas
Gustav Mahler: Symphony #5

Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 11-12 January 2015

Touring Europe, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSO) under their Music Director Gustavo Dudamel performed two concerts in Brussels. Dudamel already guested in 2009 with the Gothenburg Symphony, but for the orchestra it was a long overdue debut in the Belgian capital. The arrival of El Sistema’s crown jewel and its brightest gem had been well prepared in the media and not surprisingly on both nights the Centre for Fine Arts was filled to capacity. Perhaps not so much the new audience that is often mentioned in connection with “the Dude”, but people of all ages who still made it quite clear for what reason they attended the concerts. That recently the praised Venezuelan educational system received a fair amount of flak, or that the country itself is going through rough times, wasn’t going to spoil the fun. Dudamel and the Bolivars were in town.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Mozart and Chopin in Lang Lang Style

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Sonata #5 in G Major, KV 283
Sonata #4 in B Flat Major, KV 282
Sonata #8 in A minor, KV 310
Frédéric Chopin:
Ballade #1 in G minor, Op. 23
Ballade #2 in F Major, Op. 38
Ballade #3 in A Flat Major, Op. 47
Ballade #4 in F minor, Op. 52

Lang Lang, piano
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 2 April 2014

In a lenient mood one might welcome Lang Lang’s interpretation of three Mozart sonatas as a virtuoso fantasy based on Mozart themes. Neither could you blame the Chinese star pianist for trying out different accents or adding an extra shade of color, perchance a discreet ornamentation. After he casually walked to his piano in a packed Centre for fine Arts in Brussels, cheerfully picking out people in the front rows like he recognized old friends – a nod here, a wave there – he started the early sonatas as if in an improvisatory manner. There is no doubt his enthusiasm for playing the piano is highly infectious and one can understand the picturesque fascination.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Hungarian Magic

Antonino Pasculli: Concerto on Themes from Donizetti’s “La Favorita”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto for Oboe & Orchestra in C Major, K. 314
Franz Liszt: A Faust-Symphony

François Leleux, oboe
Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer
Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts, 6 March 2013

The Budapest Festival Orchestra is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Under the guidance of maestro Iván Fischer (co-founder with Zoltán Kocsis), the orchestra not only established itself as one of Hungary’s foremost cultural entities, it also went on to cut a strong profile on the international stage. The program they offered in Brussels was delightfully unusual and of the highest level throughout. Starting with a small oboe festival with pieces from the little-known Pasculli and Mozart, featuring the high-spirited François Leleux as soloist, it was the rarely heard Faust-Symphony from Franz Liszt which acted as the focal point of the evening.
Read the full review on Classical Net