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Tonhalle: Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Hamilton

Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Hamilton

Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Hamilton

Upcycle by Gordon Hamilton
Double Concerto A minor Op.102 by Johannes Brahms with James Ehnes (Violin) and Pablo Ferrández (Cello)
Symphony No.2 E minor Op.27 by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, conducted by Alpesh Chauhan

Tonhalle, 3rd Tier, Row 10, Seats 06+08

(This post also appears, in slightly different form, at my Instagram account betweendrafts.)

Superstrong season opener. I love Brahms’ double concerto so much, I know it so well, and it was such a great performance that the tears kept coming (and it wasn’t only me). Rachmaninoff’s second was also fantastic, the DSO’s cor anglais, clarinet, and violin soloists and the conductor himself emphatically included. Tonight was only the second time I saw Chauhan conducting—he’s the DSO’s principal guest conductor—but I’m already sold and completely in love with his style.

Hamilton’s Upcycle was also nice—it was composed for the Tonhalle’s “Green Monday” initiative. Trash items like empty beer bottle or old newspapers were integrated as musical instruments, but the piece itself was less programmatic than cinematic and with that surprisingly good. (During the Green Monday talk, Hamilton provocatively asserted that “programmatic music doesn’t exist,” which, well, isn’t the most interesting take one could think of… but with Upcycle, he put his money where his mouth is, so that’s to be respected.)

Unfortunately, both the Startalk and the Green Monday talk left a lot to be desired, especially the latter. Lea Brückner’s questions were neither deep nor delightful; her Startalk translations were, umh, quite imaginative at times; and it would have helped the Green Monday discussion along if she had realized that “waste” in “Zero Waste” doesn’t translate to German »Müll« but »Verschwendung«, bless her heart.

But never mind. Everything else tonight was a blast!

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