Posts Tagged ‘Gerhild Romberger’

Jansons Turns 75

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Mariss Jansons and Martin Angerer in rehearsal in Munich’s Gasteig in January 2018

Published: January 12, 2018

MUNICH — Against the medical odds, perhaps, Mariss Jansons turns seventy-five on Sunday, still adored by his favorite orchestra. Bavarian Broadcasting marks the occasion with a 44-minute video portrait, Im Zeichen der Musik, or In the Music’s Character, freely watchable. Last evening here at the Gasteig, a subscription concert of the Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks paraded contrasting sides of the musicians’ long union with Jansons, and everyone’s versatility. Martin Angerer navigated the elegant byways and tricky trills of Hummel’s Concerto a trombe principale (1803) with apparent ease in its original key of E, tidily accompanied. In an interview, the section principal distinguished this “godly” tonality from the “mundane” feel of E-flat, taken often in a convenience edition of the Hummel he deems a “stab in the heart,” but he stopped short of chancing the performance with the kind of Klappen-Trompete used originally, preferring the luxuries of a modern American piston instrument. (Soloist and conductor are pictured midweek.) Genia Kühmeier, Gerhild Romberger, Maximilian Schmitt and Luca Pisaroni made an impeccable quartet for the program’s main work, after the break, Beethoven’s C-Major Mass (1807), although the bass for some reason sang half-voice. The BR Chor glowingly intoned its lines yet struggled to focus the words in the acoustically poor venue. Jansons led supportively but as always from the ground up, never from the bowels of the Earth, and showing no inquirer’s zeal for the imaginative score. His clinical manner and the Bavarian players’ skill found their most persuasive outlet in an episodic exercise in chromatic unrest at the top of the evening: the Symphony in Three Movements (1945) of Stravinsky. Here, structure reigned, details sparkled, and the con moto third movement sounded (suitably) die-cast. It was in 2003 that this celebrated partnership began, since when the demanding and fussy but personable Latvian maestro’s contract has been renewed with accelerating commitment: for three years in 2013, and for three more years less than two years later — right after he sounded receptive to a theoretical, but as it turned out imagined, offer in Berlin. Which takes us up to 2021, past several happy birthday returns.

Photo © Bayerischer Rundfunk

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BR Chor’s St Matthew Passion

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Peter Dijkstra

Published: March 28, 2013

MUNICH — Bayerischer Rundfunk chose to film Bach’s St Matthew Passion last month in the Herkulessaal, in blue light. Drafted for the mood-enhanced venture were Karina Gauvin, Gerhild Romberger, Maximilian Schmitt and Michael Nagy, the vocal quartet; Julian Prégardien and Karl-Magnus Fredriksson as the Evangelist and Jesus; the Cathedral Sparrows (actually boys) from Regensburg; and the authentically inclined orchestra Concerto Köln from Köln. The broadcaster’s own estimable BR Chor anchored the proceedings under its Dutch artistic leader Peter Dijkstra. Instantly (Feb. 16) their efforts poured out over the Internet and to watchers of the Franco-German TV network Arte. No doubt a DVD will follow to match the BR Klassik label’s equally azure Christmas Oratorio of 2010.

The next afternoon (Feb. 17), by dint of planning the first Sunday in Lent, all was repeated, happily without color effects or cameras, and wonders ensued anyway. Jarringly at first, Dijkstra favored leisurely speeds for the choruses yet brisk dispatch of the arias, as if he could not settle between traditional and authentic ways with the score. But this hybrid approach soon proved enlightening: choral ideas gained transparency, also grandeur, while the music for solo voice advanced in resolute dramatic units.

Romberger’s graceful legato and neatly placed ornaments found the logic of her musical lines, with text emphases shifting in modest degrees; this is an imaginative, rich, true alto whose absorbing Buß und Reu and Erbarme dich alone justified attendance. Gauvin brought an agile, creamy soprano, although her phrasing did not always explain her renown as a Baroque stylist. Schmitt’s high, sometimes meager-toned tenor projected well. Nagy’s keen musicianship largely masked missing gravitas in the voice. A member of the Royal Opera in Stockholm, Fredriksson declaimed the protagonist’s varied part in bright hues, his voice fully supported even in sudden outbursts; though listed as a baritone, he had all the low notes. Prégardien offered an equally vivid storyteller but strained in abrupt ascents.

The bisected BR Chor sang with customary discipline and impeccable text enunciation, while the sparrows opulently held aloft Bach’s cantus firmus girders in framing Part I. Instrumentally the performance had great eloquence — in the extensive viola da gamba work (from Jan Freiheit for both groupings), in a nimble violin solo (from Mayumi Hirasaki in Orchestra II), and in the robust, confident sound of the divided Cologne ensemble.

Photo © Klaus Fleckenstein for BR

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