KVT – The Champs Elysees in Hanoi

Posted on Wednesday 19 Jun - 2013

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KVT in Mozartian Heaven

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It was a no brainer as to where any all classical music lovers would be last Saturday night…..at the Hanoi Opera House with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysees which is on an Asian tour and the French at L’Espace persuaded them to drop into Hanoi and play their distinctive interpretations of music written from the mid 18th to the early 20th centuries…..distinctive because they only play on instruments that existed during various composers’ lifetimes. Thus we hear the music as it was intended to be heard and not revised for modern instruments as played by most present day orchestras that find it almost impossible to remain faithful to the original score.

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Founded in the 1990ies and based in Paris at the Theatre des Champs Elysees, its one of those orchestras a talented and individually minded musician would love to be part of. It has none of the hierarchy that exists in traditional orchestras and this encourages all the musicians to get closely involved and be intimately connected in the artistic outcomes.

In Hanoi the Orchestra was under the direction of versatile, lead violinist Alessandro Moccia who directed from the lead violinist seat and not the podium and to quote from a review from the Guardian newspaper about Mozart concertos through which he’d lead the orchestra… ‘Under its leader Alessandro Moccia, the Orchestre des Champs-Elysees are classy: their acerbic sound keeps the drama uppermost and prevents everything from becoming cloying’

This was really evident when they played the 10th Symphony by German composer, H J Rigel (1741-1799).

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A clarity and sharpness kept me alert and eager for more and thankfully the musicians didn’t race to a finale as too often happens in what I describe as a promenade and parasol work which, in the wrong hands, all start to sound too much alike.

It was Mozart who was the draw card for most of us and the Clarinet Concerto, probably the last work he finished in 1791, was sensationally soloed by Australian, Nicola Boud who graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1999.

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She’s got an enviable reputation for her ability to play all varieties of clarinets and the historical one she used, gave us terrific streams of liquid honey. The only image that I could find that approximates the clarinet Boud played is the bowled basset horn below.

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Boud has played to acclaim with the Edding Quartet  from Holland and when she played Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet with them- all five playing period instruments- her clarinet was reconstructed from a picture on a poster for a concert by Anton Stadler to whom Mozart had dedicated the work…and who, presumably, played the debut concert of the Clarinet Concerto on the same instrument. And I’m also presuming that it’s the same reconstruction Boud played for us

She was the perfect star to solo with the maestros that make up the Champs Elysees and we were incredibly lucky to see and hear her.

Here’s a clip of her talking about her more than 30 types of  clarinets she plays YouTube Preview Image

She was all suppleness and it was really exciting to hear the very low notes in the Adagio played to perfection. Mozart loved the clarinet and when you hear it played as we did you can understand why!

The night was concluded with Mozart’s 40th Symphony and played as intended by strings and two of each flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horns. Impossible to beat! Has Mozart ever been played better in Hanoi!!!?

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A cloud nine night at Nha Hat Lon……ah you wonderful French!

Here’s a clip of the Rigel for those, like me, who are unfamiliar with his work

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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.

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