KVT full of contented sighs Nha Hat Lon
The real reason I bought a seat at the opera house on Wednesday night was to hear the Vietnam National Symphony orchestra play Vhu Nhat Tan’s work ‘Hanoi,Hanoi…andHanoi’ which he composed for them.
Vu Nhat Tan has long been one of my favorite contemporary Vietnamese composers and players of digital sound and I’ve often wondered when I’d be hearing something he’d composed for the classical scene without him soloing.
The 15 minute work was really exciting and gave the players-especially strings and tympanni- a concentrated workout. The prolonged pizzicato section was a doozy.
The work should have been standing ovation stuff and I, selfishly, hope that Tan receives funds to compose future orchestral works. This one was generously supported by the Norway Music Information Centre.
Vu Nhat Tan, like a lot of the best contemporary and digital composers, has had a solid education in the classical genre.
For a listen to why I like his music click here for a bit of improvisation
The conductor for the night was renowned Norwegian Terje Mikkelsen who had the orchestra playing some of their their best notes ever, particularly the brass . It started off excellently with Norweigan composer, Johan Svenndsen’s ‘Norweigian Carnival of Artists’ (1874) and this really warmed up the players for Vu Nhat Tan’s work.
Then with nary a breather, Mickelsen led them through Bruch’s well known Violin Concerto No 1 (1866) acompanying popular, local violin soloist Bui Cong Duy. This seemed to be the event that most of the audience had come for and the soloist milked the concerto for all it was worth and had the viewers contentedly purring, especially as he launched into the stirring last movement.
Not Bui Cong Duy who got heaps of deserved applause – and for those who can’t get enough of the last movement here it is with Sarah Chang playing.
Finally the interval and the players got a welcome break to soothe calluses on fingers and lips.
It shows how far the VNSO has come when it can launch seemlessly into the opening movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony with a brass and woodwind fanfare that really made the hair on the back of your neck rise a few centimeters. If Tchaik was trying to scare us all witless about the hand of fate looming above us all then the VNSO got it just right
The brass and woodwinds continued to shine on cue throughout the night as did the strings who had two more difficult pizzicato bits to conquer, especially the basses with a really long stretch plucking their strings in the third movement. When the brass, playing stacatto, joined the pizacatto strings, the efect was electric.
The last movement, I read once, takes virtuosity to the edge of what is possible, and the orchestra did their darndest to follow suit and my neck hair, once again. was on the rise. And here’s a You Tube Baremboim sample to show how difficult it all is.
For once the triangle player had an occasion to shine out loud and the final bars were made for him. When the conductor led the orchestra into ‘Anitra’s Dance’ as an encore (after lots of applause) he was the definite center of attention with his delicate dings and satisfied smile.
Huge thanks have to be given to the Norweigian Embassy and The Norway Music Information Center for bringing us Maestro Mikkelsen, a couple of Norweigian guest players, and a chance for the VNSO to perform at their professional best
A very memorable night’s music.
|Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.|