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Hampson and Haselböck in Linz, October 9th, 2019
Two Hs in Concert
A very mixed and yet enjoyable concert was given at the beautiful concert hall “Brucknerhaus” in Linz/Upper Austria on 9th of October, 2019: “Hampson and Haselböck”.
Fine orchestra and a sensitive conductor
The programme was split into three different parts, two were orchestral music, one part was only singing.
The first part was dedicated to Upper Austria’s great son – Anton Bruckner. For the opening, Bruckner’s Marsch in d-moll/d minor (WAB 96) and three orchestra pieces (Es-Dur/e flat major – e-moll/e minor – F-Dur/f major; WAB 97,1–3) were chosen. The third part of the concert was Antonín Dvořák’s 4th symphony (d-moll/d minor, op. 13).
Martin Haselböck is not only a conductor, but also a well-known organist (and composer). In 1985, he founded the “Orchester Wiener Akademie”, a period- instrument orchestra with the aim to preserve authentic original sound and introduce lesser known pieces to a broader audience. He has been the artistic director of this orchestra ever since, although he also conducted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Weimar Staatskapelle, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Mariinsky Orchestra and many others.
“His” orchestra was playing that evening and they gave us an impression of the close connection between the musicians and their conductor. Fascinating was the interpretation of the Bruckner part. The tempi were excellent. Haselböck overcame the often experienced temptation to artificially inflate the music. He and the musicians restrained themselves and made the music speak for itself, which – at the same time – made themselves the centre of attention without disturbing the excitement of the music. Especially the horn players were fabulous! I have seldom heard such a clear, perfect embouchure and such fine skills.
In the third part, Dvořák’s 4th symphony, they also played very well, but for some je-ne-sais-quoi reason it did not feel as exciting as the Bruckner part. In the third movement, the tempo was a bit too slow for my personal taste. However, it was still interesting to hear that great orchestra and watch its interaction with their artistic director.
Thomas Hampson and Schubert’s Lieder
Between the two orchestral parts, there was Thomas Hampson’s performance. He had chosen Schubert Lieder, orchestrated by various composers.
- Du bist die Ruh, D 776 (1823) [orchestrated by Anton von Webern]
- An Schwager Kronos, D 369 (1816) [orchestrated by Johannes Brahms]
- Geheimes, D 719 (1821) [orchestrated by Johannes Brahms]
- Memnon, D 541 (1817) [orchestrated by Johannes Brahms]
- Ihr Bild, Nr. 9 aus: Schwanengesang, D 957 (1828) [orchestrated by Anton von Webern]
- Ständchen, Nr. 4 aus: Schwanengesang, D 957 (1828) [orchestrated by Jacques Offenbach]
- Der Doppelgänger, Nr. 13 aus: Schwanengesang, D 957 (1828) [orchestrated by Franz Liszt]
- Erlkönig, D 328 (1815) [orchestrated by Franz Liszt]
- Encore: Gruppe aus dem Tartarus – Zweite Bearbeitung D 583 – Opus 24 / 1
Hampson once more proved to be an excellent Lieder singer. His operatic background was very helpful, though, because it is not easy to sing mezza voce and piano with a strong orchestration – and it was a challenging tightrope walk, which made me hold my breath every once in a while. Would he be able to keep the low note …? Indeed, he would. He switched smoothly between fine, lyrical lines and powerful outbursts. Hampson’s delicate interpretation was cheered by the audience. Many people had come from afar to see and hear him, and, according to their enthusiastic applause and their happy faces, they did not regret their journey to Linz.
(published 11 October 2019)