Edo de Waart delivered the third instalment of a projected Gustav Mahler cycle with the Hong Kong Philharmonic last Friday with a performance of Symphony No4. A vision of heaven (despite grotesque undertones), this is the most joyful of Mahler's symphonies, although no easier to bring off than any of his others.
Indeed, the score mercilessly exposed the Philharmonic's shortcomings such as crude horn playing and an untidy string ensemble. The orchestra took time finding its feet in the first movement. De Waart then coached them through a safe, if sometimes lacklustre, journey.
That aside, he maintained a clear texture throughout (although balance wasn't always precise), some of his rubato timings were marvellous, and the slow move-ment was marked by lyricism and impassioned climaxes. Guest concertmaster John Harding elegantly interpreted death in his second movement solos.
Mahler requested a childlike voice for the fourth movement, expressing a Catholic child's idea of heaven -British soprano Geraldine McGreevy's mezzo-ish, bronzy tone might not have been ideal. For all her commitment, her interpretation was mellow, her articulation wasn't always clear, and some high notes were reached with obvious effort. It was similar with her renditions of four orchestral songs by Richard Strauss, although her passionate style was appreciated.
That the Philharmonic has improved under de Waart was evident in Wagner's Siegfried Idyll. The performance was beautiful as a picture of pastoral bliss - although, for a work intended as a birthday gift to the composer's wife, more intense and romantic expression would not have been amiss.
討論作品：Edo de Waart Conducts Mahler 4
地點：Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall