I don’t usually think of the Brahms as “glorious” — “glorious” would apply to a superb performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the immaculately trained Chorus in that (singing with perfect intonation) — but “glorious” is indeed how this performance feels to me at times with this stellar Orchestra and Chorus, when they nearly bring tears to my eyes from their choral excellence, and brings back memories of my Orchestra Chorus experience when we performed the Brahms when I was in the Choral Arts Society of Washington (that performance was with The Cleveland Orchestra in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall) and also with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (Davies Symphony Hall). Read article here.
Yes, you can turn off vocal vibrato. Real musicians do it all the time. As heard in this performance of Zelenka’s Missa Omnium Sanctorum by Collegium 1704, conducted by Václav Luks.
Here are two interviews with Nicolas Baldeyrou, Principal Clarinetist of L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He played in the above performance of the Brahms:
The Encore: Debussy’s Clair de Lune. I forgot to mention that after his performance of the Ravel, Francesco’s encore was the well-known piece Clair de Lune (which translates as Light of the Moon or Moonlight) by Debussy. It’s the third movement from his Suite Bergamasque. I’m glad he played it because I don’t think it could be better played than the way Francesco played it here (video below). His playing of this piece was also aided by the Hamburg Steinway & Sons’s Model D piano he was playing. The orchestral musicians seemed to enjoy it by the looks on their faces. The Debussy begins at around 23.50 into the video. And what was with some in this audience? There were school kids on the front row — nice that they could be there — and some of them seemed to be sleeping, including the girl sitting about a foot away from Francesco. Perhaps the performance was at night and they had had a long day and were tired, and they found the music very soothing and comforting. The most annoying person in the audience was that woman with short hair and glasses and a floral shirt whose face could be seen at the keyboard end of the piano. She was sitting on the second row. What was her head trip? She was damn annoying. She was laughing and talking and doing other annoying gestures all during the performance of the Ravel. It appeared that the guy she was there with was the real “entertainment” for her and not the superb musicians on stage. At one point she had to put her hand over her mouth (laughing). Whatever he was saying, she listened attentively. Often when Francesco was playing she wasn’t even looking at him. Loca./Crazy. One sensed her friend was doing “commentary” throughout the performance and she found it all funny. What is funny about the Ravel Piano Concerto in G? People like that are damn annoying and need to learn concert etiquette. If you have something to say to the person next to you, take the pen that you brought with you per concert etiquette and write your comments in the margins of your programme and covertly slide it over to the person for them to read. That way you are being considerate of others who came there for the performance, and not for you to ruin it for them with your talking, laughing, giggling and other childish, inconsiderate gestures. What is wrong with people today? Sigh. Nobody has that much time!