Monday, May 1, 2023

La Sagrada Família, Barcelona

Playing within Gaudí’s spectacular surroundings, the opening G-minor Mozart was fleet, intense and expressive, the Berliner Philharmoniker (Noah Bendix-Blagley, concertmaster), courtesy of expert DCH engineering, lifted into the listener’s consciousness while retaining a certain amount of the venue’s resonance, Kirill Petrenko requiring biting accents and yielding phrasing in the first movement, then a flowing Andante, a moving-forward Minuet with a Trio of some tempo relaxation, and a Finale paced ideally for the syncopation to register. Following which the deeply-felt Prayer for the Ukraine introduced Orfeó Català as sensitive songsters capable of ultra-quiet dynamics, responded to immediately by the refined if aching expression of the Takemitsu, anguished at times, the uninterrupted sequence completed by K618, choir and orchestra united for something sublime. Then Louise Alder made shapely work of K165, agile and poised, ornamentation and coloratura absorbed into the whole in masterly fashion and flawless musicianship, accompanied colourfully. Following the interval, she returned, together with three colleagues, positioned between chorus and orchestra, for Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Mass, which I got to know from Karajan’s DG/BP recording (coupled with Bruckner’s Te Deum). It’s a joyous work, if not without gravitas or – the ‘Agnus dei’ – wondrous beauty (Alder again), exhilarating in this buoyant rendition that glowed in this acoustic.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony No. 25 in G minor K. 183
Valentin Silvestrov Prayer for the Ukraine for mixed choir a cappella
Tōru Takemitsu Requiem for Strings
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Ave verum corpus”, motet K. 618
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Exsultate, jubilate”, motet K. 165
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Mass in C major, K. 317 “Coronation”

Orfeó Català
Louise Alder soprano
Wiebke Lehmkuhl alto
Linard Vrielink tenor
Krešimir Stražanac bass-baritone