The first event in this year’s Hong Kong Arts Festival was the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra’s first performance east of its home country of Turkey. The concert was an adventure to the East as much for the orchestra as for Hong Kongers: it offered the latter a rare opportunity to hear works of Western classical music written by Turkish composers, Turkey having always been regarded as a land in the “East” in European art.
The concert was bookended by Turkish works. Both the curtain-raiser, Ferit Tüzün’s Capriccio à la Turque (1956), and the encore, Ulvi Cemal Erkin’s Köçekçe (1943), celebrate with their complex rhythms the nation’s folk music and dance traditions, alternating between fast, noisy, exciting passages and slow, quiet, alluring ones. Under Sascha Goetzel’s baton, the orchestra did not shy from such wild contrasts, but revelled in the riot of tone colours, changes in tempi and shifts in mood, an approach that proved equally effective in the larger works on the programme.
With Scotsman James MacMillan’s Violin Concerto (2009), another land often considered to be on the periphery of Europe was explored. Written in commemoration of the composer’s mother, the concerto is suffused with folk elements. Just like the orchestra, soloist Vadim Repin was at once virtuosic and expressive. From the many tricky double stops and breathless runs in the first movement to the delicate Irish-inspired music in harmonics in the second, magically accompanied by such instruments as piano, crotales (small pitched cymbals) and bodhrán (frame drum), the violinist played affectingly while staying effortlessly note-perfect. The third and last movement is a Totentanz, or Dance of Death, in all but name, haunted as it is by the Dies Irae plainchant from the Requiem Mass. Here Goetzel and his forces went all out to create a chilling atmosphere, from the orchestral musicians’ counting aloud sinister rhythms in German at the outset to the soloist’s frenetic cadenza to the emphatic, sustained final chord that proclaims the inescapable.
The idea of adding Middle Eastern instruments to Rimsky-Korsakov’s hugely popular Scheherazade (1888), where the orchestration is exemplary, might raise more than a few eyebrows, yet here Goetzel ventured just that. Happily, the extra percussion, most prominent in the second movement, was judiciously employed and never came across as jarring. Moreover, the brief new oud (lute) and qanun (zither) solos and duet that served as transitions between movements heightened the overall sense of narrative, as did the numerous instrumental solos throughout, especially concertmaster Pelin Halkacı Akın’s, all of which sounded more rhapsodic and seductive than usual. After all, the work itself represents a case of “nesting orientalisms”, where a Russian Other indulges in the exoticism of another Other, the Middle East. In proudly embracing all such “foreign” elements as their very own, the Turkish orchestra gave with winsome confidence and enthusiasm a vibrant, detailed and sharply articulated performance that amounted to a powerful assertion of the Eastern Self.
討論作品：Concert of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
演出單位：Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra