Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Suntory Hall, Tokyo

This is more of a soundbite than anything resembling a review.

I have just finished watching this relay from a packed Suntory Hall (audience members masked)…

Tokyo Symphony Orchestra News Release/A total of 40 cameras! on Niconico Live Streaming – Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on Dec. 28.

… using the regular rather than the “Special Site” link. The sound was clear enough if somewhat restricted dynamically, and the “multiple camera switching” proved too busy, the screen also plastered with very distracting rolling Japanese words. Best to listen and write. Good and engaging performance though: a first movement fleet, fiery and cohesive, and probably with more fortissimo than made it through cyberspace; a propulsive Scherzo (all repeats) and a well-related Trio, with exposed horn and oboe solos finely executed, and strong timpani throughout; a gently serene slow movement (it’s beginning delayed by getting the vocal soloists on – with clapping), flowing, lyrical, seamless; and a Finale, launched attacca, a sense of drama apparent, the ‘Ode to Joy’ melody started quieter than I have ever heard it, growing organically to the baritone’s “not these tones” and the choir’s entry (its members and the excellent quartet singing from memory; Nott also score-less), an at-times furious traversal (not least emerging from the tenor’s nimble ‘Turkish March’, but never rushed, dynamics carefully considered and with gravitas not undermined. The coda was exhilarating, the whole worth tuning in for.