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“Caldara in Wien” 2011-09-18

2011. szeptember 24. szombat

(Ezt a posztot eredetileg kedvenc fórumomra szántam, ezért kezdtem angolul írni. Mivel nincs türelmem magamat fordítgatni, most már így is marad…) 

Last Sunday I was so lucky that I could attend Philippe Jaroussky’s concert with Concerto Köln at the Musikverein in Vienna. It was the last night of their tour with a program of Caldara arias.

As others already said before me, it was in many ways different from the CD. One of the surprises, for example, was the crazy tempo of Lo seguitai felice, on the verge of impossible, but performed faultlessly and with great gusto. It was also a good show to look at, Philippe and the concert master glancing at each other like they were playing rope pulling with their eyes, and all the musicians clearly enjoying themselves. Bravo!!! — Generally speaking, all the fast arias tended to became even faster and more fierce, and the orchestra was a perfect partner in this.

The finest moments though (at least for me) were the slow arias, especially those parts where there were only the voice and the unisono violins, intertwining, supporting and completing each other’s lines and creating something sublimely beautiful in an eternal moment of „now” – no recording can truly render the magic of experiencing this live!

One of the arias where Caldara used this trick in plenty is Se mai senti, my personal favourite – perhaps because the CD version before hadn’t touched me too much, so the shock was even greater. It was funny to watch the audience’s (and my own) reaction, which was pretty much the same than last November, when I first heard it in Munich. At the beginning: nothing special, just another aria starting. Then as the piece proceeded we were drawn deeper and deeper into the pain of the character (preparing to die for his beloved who doesn’t even love him back). The emotional tension was never eased as the middle section is in the same mood (the orchestra even plays the same motives than before), and people gradually became more and more quiet. By the final unisono note they were completely spellbound, hardly daring to breathe or move. (Even the big man sitting next to me, who otherwise was more keen on the orchestra than on Philippe’s singing.) It is a very special kind of silence, when so many people are listening so attentively – he could make us listen not only with our ears but with our whole soul as well! Then came the last postlude on the orchestra, and people started stirring and making noises again – like they were coming up to the surface after diving deep into the sea or waking up from a dream… Wonderful!

Also wonderful were his pianissimo phrases, the notes filling the room effortlessly, showing a whole spectrum of lovely, warm colours. And the complete unity of singer and orchestra (how they must love to make music together!) And of course his own graceful self – „pleasures invade both eye and ear”, as the Purcell song says.  And his bright smile and kind words for everyone who went to ask for his autograph after the concert – we watched the people coming back from their precious few minutes with him and saw only happy and radiant faces. Like my own was in the end — he is the kind of person with whom you only have to talk a few sentences about anything (even banalities, like the weather, or, in this case, “would you sign this for me?” and “how do you spell your name?”) and you smile permanently for a week after it.

An unforgettable night. My only sorrow is that most of his concerts are too far away from my place of living — I could easily get used to this kind of pastime!

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