Sunday, June 20, 2010

Barocknacht Mannheim

Sunday 20 June 2010

The title means “Baroque Night Mannheim”. This was the name of the excellent musical event I attended yesterday evening. Presented by the MusikForum Mannheim, it was held in Schloss Mannheim, a former palace that I believe is now part of the university.

It was quite a venue for a concert – you couldn’t ask for much more in terms of atmosphere for a concert featuring baroque music played on period instruments. Here’s the outside of the entrance to the Schloss:

This was the entrance to the concert venue. I came out here to walk around and stretch in between performances.

They didn’t allow photography inside during the concert, but I took a picture of the room while they were getting ready. Here’s the room where the main performances were given:

The "Rittersaal" or "Knight's Hall" featured a wooden parquet floor, sculpted and marble-accented walls adorned with painted portraits, statues in the corners, chandeliers, and a fresco on the ceiling. Too perfect...

There were actually three simultaneous performances going on at any given time throughout the evening, with scheduled pauses in between. So while there was no way to hear everything, you had the opportunity to choose what you wanted to hear. I won’t list out the entire program, but the performances I attended included Handel, Galluppi, Viviani, Gabrielli, Bach, Vivaldi, and Telemann. Of these I had only been familiar with Bach and Vivaldi. The big surprise of the evening for me was Georg Philipp Telemann. I really enjoyed his music, and will immediately start to look for recordings of his work. Perhaps not coincidentally, there were more pieces by him in the program than any other composer (at least in the sessions I chose to attend).

For those who may be interested, here is a link to the Barocknacht Mannheim website:

If you click on "Download: GESAMTPROGRAM" you will get the entire program on .pdf, including all the pieces they played.

My choices from this program were:

19.00: Rittersaal – Trumpet Sound
19.45: Gartensaal – Piccolo Violincello
20.30: Gartensaal – Pariser Quartett
21.15: Rittersaal – Telemann Concerto
22.00: Rittersaal – Ebb’ und Fluth

There was one extra piece they played that was not on the program. It was a really cool piece that featured a flute and a singer with the rest of the ensemble in accompaniment. It was an aria by Vivaldi, from “Orlando Furioso, known as “sol da te” from the first words. I’ve listened to a couple of recordings of it since last evening, but none of them match the energy of the performance I saw. They seem a little tame – but maybe that’s an inevitable difference between a live performance and a recording. It sure adds a lot to be able to see them play in person!

Attendance was about 1/3 of the capacity of the venue, which I’d have considered disappointing. The audience was mostly older people (meaning older than me, and I’m on the high side of 50). I was briefly encouraged when some younger people showed up, but as the evening progressed it became apparent that they were mostly musicians in between appearances in the program, or friends of the musicians. It isn’t as though they aren’t trying to reach out to younger people - I found out about the performance through an ad on Facebook.

The upside of this was that it was very intimate – I had no trouble sitting very close. I really enjoyed watching the musicians perform. Some were very reserved and workmanlike, others very animated and energetic. On the whole, they really seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were almost uniformly young – very few looked like they were even yet in their thirties, and there were only one or two who could even possibly have been forty.

All in all it was a wonderful evening. I felt very acutely the absence of someone to share it with, and was alternately missing my girlfriend (who I won’t see until August) and my daughters (who fly here for a visit tomorrow). Too bad about the timing – it would have been a nice thing to go to together.

Mood: Happy
Music: “Cessata, omai cessate”, RV 684, Antonio Vivaldi


At 15:25, Blogger Spoiled in Paradise said...

Glad you had such a great time. Enjoy the upcoming precious time (with your daughters), too!


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