Saturday, 18 May 2013

Musical Dress Code

Recorder soloist Stefan Temmingh who made a metallic red fashion statement
When solo classical musicians perform, it's interesting to see how they dress. 

A generation ago violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter made a fashion statement in her strapless dresses. I haven't seen her perform in person but surely she's one to watch. According to a Wall Street Journal article, she has several John Galliano strapless dresses in a number of colours. She says she wears them because they're comfortable.

Anne-Sophie Mutter in her strapless gown
Some male soloists stick to the standby classic tuxedo, but some are more creative, injecting some of their personality with the clothes they wear on stage. Pianist Lang Lang favours wearing Armani suits or maybe it's because they are given to him? That's what he says in a Bloomberg article.

Tonight YTSL and I saw recorder soloist Stefan Temmingh. He's originally from South Africa but lives in Munich. The last time I picked up a recorder was in elementary school playing very basic songs.

But here of course Temmingh has taken the recorder to amazing heights thanks to his massive lung capacity and artistic flair.

He made an entrance with a shiny black jacket with a gold collar, black shoes, pants, and a pair of shiny metallic red shoes and belt to match.

When he performed Vivaldi's Recorder Concerto, RV443, he conducted the small group of musicians too and this enabled him to turn around and make eye contact with them as well as with the audience. He was so into his element that he began jump around and dance a bit. He reminded YTSL of a satyr, half man, half goat.

Lang Lang tends to favour wearing Armani suits on stage
He calmed down during the Asian premiere of Enjott Schneider's Omaggio a Vivaldi, written for Temmingh. He performed the piece using four different recorders of different sizes which was really interesting. Our only quibble with him was that he didn't memorize the pieces he played and had the sheet music in front of him which is unusual for a soloist.

Nevertheless, the audience -- me included -- enjoyed his performance so much that he did an encore of a 17th century piece by a Dutch composer called The Nightingale, but sounded more like a duet of two birds rather than one.

Jason Lai: Sibelius
May 18
Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall
Part, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Vivaldi, Recorder Concerto, RV443
Enjott Schneider, Omaggio a Vivaldi (Asian premiere)
Sibelius, Symphony No 2 in D, Op 43

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