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9.2.17

Latest on Forbes: Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie Opens. A Soundcheck of the Great Hall and the Wolfgang Rihm World Premiere reviewed.

Hamburger Elbphilharmonie, view coming into the Harbor Photo courtesy Elbphilharmonie, © Thies Rätzke (2016)
Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Great Hall at intermission of the opening concert
Photo courtesy Elbphilharmonie, © Michael Zapf


Review: Hamburg Elbphilharmonie Opening And First Impressions Of The Great Hall


This review over on Forbes focuses on the music and performance of the Elbphilharmonie's opening concert, as well as on the acoustic properties of the impressive new hall.

...It was an exciting, slightly rainy New York Monday night in March of 2007, at Carnegie Hall. The North German Radio Symphony Orchestra was in town and I had come up from D.C. to hear their concert – part of a fund-, goodwill, and awareness-raising effort to get support for the ambitious new concert hall they were planning to build. Very cool! “See you in 2010,” they said. Last month, January 11, 2017, I stood on a launch in Hamburg’s harbor, with this musical Mordor temple towering 110m above me: The now infamous Elbphilharmonie about to open. The countdown to the opening chords was displayed in minutes on the narrow, harbor-facing façade of the building, with a huge light-projected metronome tick-tocking away, second by second...

...Ironically the interest and attention was probably heightened by the fact that for so long the Elbphilharmonie – already nicknamed #Elphie – had been one of Germany’s three biggest engineering/infrastructure/building disasters, along with Stuttgart’s alleged new central railway station and the mythical airport in Berlin… a tire-fire of ineptitude that very much dented the Hamburger’s self-image as an industrious people, sound businessmen who know how to plan and execute well and handle money most responsibly...

...The Elbphilharmonie’s General and Artistic Director Christoph Lieben-Seutter ... became increasingly relaxed from speech to speech. By the time he opened the Elbphilharmonie’s Recital Hall he joked, with a good dose of self-critical awareness, that currently they could put a kazoo-playing janitor into the Great Hall and still sell out...

...Another innovation, as per the marketing department, is the long, curved escalator – “The Tube” – that takes the inclined visitor through an oval tunnel up to the 7th floor in one fell 4-minite swoop. Upon taking it for the first time, this long ride enhances the anticipation and the patrons are rewarded at the end with a great view. I would suggest that the real innovation is elling a long escalator that curves as an innovation....

...The Elbphilharmonie’s Grosser Saal has been likened to many things; the official version speaks of the steep arrangement as a vineyard. Something to that. It reminds me also of the style of some greater Protestant churches, where the congregation does not stand, all turned in one direction, along a West-East axis but is arranged in a round. Most especially Dresden’s Frauenkirche comes to mind, with its tiered structure with the community (not the altar) at its center...

...For all the dark mass and might of Photoptosis, the sound was bright and cold in this hall, rich in overtones. Like early-generation LED lighting, this gave the hall, as I experienced it, a touch of operating theater. That in contrast to the actual, much warmer (LED) lights that shone out of hundreds and hundreds of individual, mouth-blown glass spheres that looked like beautiful gelatinized bubbles that have all slowly risen from the depth of a prehistoric sea beneath the Elbphilharmonie and gotten stuck beneath the ceilings of the various tiers, ranks, and pods of the hall...

...The switch back to Philippe Jaroussky – with “Amarilli mia bella” (from Giulio Caccini’s Le nuove musiche yet another renaissance work) – was, finally, one too many. Three years in the planning and programming-heads around Hengelbrock could not think of a piece – any piece – that wasn’t either from 1600 or ca. 1955 to show off the hall?!...

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/02/08/review-hamburg-elbphilharmonie-opening-and-first-impressions-of-the-great-hall/














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