Source: The New Century
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WITH barely a day apart, two performances by the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra. The one at the Lozano Simonelli Auditorium was ruined due to the nonsense of RTVC, while the one at the Mambo-Filarmónico was what they call an Event. Let’s see

The concert of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, last Friday, November 25, deserved to go out in the middle of the downpour that, rare thing, fell mercilessly on the city.

It deserved it because it would interpret a summit of the Italian repertoire of the s. XIX, the 4 Sacred Pieces that Giuseppe Verdi wrote at the end of his life, when he was working on Otello, his penultimate opera. Conceived independently, the Ave Maria, Stabat Mater, Laude allá vergine Maria and Te deum, since Ricordi’s edition, are interpreted in that order, not chronologically, as a kind of cycle.

In the fullness of his art, Verdi says, Torniamo all’antico, sarà un progresso! Let’s go back to the old, it will be progress; His insatiable thirst for knowledge has led him to study ancient counterpoint, delving into Bach’s Mass in B minor and those of Palestrina, his compatriot. From this reflection, the Quattro pezzi sacri were born, which the orchestra, with the participation of the Philharmonic Choir and direction of Joachim Gustafsson, would perform, it seems, professionally for the first time in the country.

It was a concert destined to leave a mark.

However, the impeccable organization of the event by the directors of the Fabio Lozano Simonelli Auditorium was not enough, nor was the preparation that, for the youth Philharmonic Choir, must have represented the staging of the four pieces, relatively brief, but extremely difficult, because RTVC, Radio Televisión Nacional de Colombia, was in charge of ruining everything. It seemed very easy to those of the lights -not lighting technicians- to hang reflectors from the railing of the gallery of the auditorium, aimed at the eyes of the public.

When the concert began, the happy lights neither went out nor dimmed. Under these conditions, the orchestra played the Prelude, Prelude to Act III and Liebestod from Tristán and Isolde: between the inadequacy of the auditorium -more suitable for chamber music than for a large orchestra- and the RTVC lights, the Wagnerian experience was everything, less pleasant.

For this reason, they barely announced a 15-minute intermission, better to leave the auditorium in the middle of the downpour. A bad joke from RTVC.

Contemporary morning

Whoever manages to explain how the public in Bogotá reacts deserves an award.

Because in the last two editions of the Mambo-Filarmónico season, those that took place in the Museum’s Acevedo Auditorium, the public’s response was discreet.

On the other hand, on the morning of Sunday the 27th, when the concert was once again held in the museum’s halls, that is, among the works of art, the response was once again massive. As usual, the public completely occupied the seating, then it slipped until it completely filled the Obregón room of the building.

Why fool us? This is how the experience of contemporary music is most inspiring. The public seems to know.

The cultural entities, those of the national and district order, would have to go through the Mambo-Filarmónico to take the cultural temperature of the city: the audience is, for the most part, young, despite the fact that they are events free admission, no one leaves the venue during the concert and quite the contrary, between works they allow entry. Not least, the conspicuous absence of the supposed cultural establishment and, of course, that of the Creole jet-setter, who is so much fun.

Well, the program was for four Colombian composers, three of them present. In the center of the Sala Obregón, the program announced, a “fusion of chamber groups from the Bogotá Philharmonic and its youth groups” under the direction of Rubián Zuluaga.

In the foreground, Tequendama by Luis Pulido was heard. Arguably, it is a composition of full maturity. Apparently, Pulido, at this point in his career, does not seek or intend to prove anything; quite the contrary, he deliberately renounces resorting to all sorts of sensationalism. Tequendama, which in the words of its creator presents a disenchanted vision of the famous waterfall at times, is heard enveloped in a sound fog that, from time to time, dissipates and allows us to see, sometimes up close, other times at a distance, the spectacle of images and sounds. The structure suggests fleeting flashes of music that the Bogotá composer strings together with incredible skill. Zuluaga and the orchestra managed to communicate all this set of subtleties.

Immediately Chant silencieux by Laura Pacheco. A youthful, extroverted composition; the composer reveals a search for sound spaces without skimping on the exploration of color, among others, by the judicious use of unconventional instrumental techniques, especially in the strings: her Chant silencieux is interior and was fully expressed by the performers.

Cacería del tigre by Héctor Fabio Torres, the only composer absent from the room, followed immediately. Another brilliant composition, determined by the incessant rhythmic resource and, of course, once again the search for color. Zuluaga’s baton managed to communicate the fieryness of the score to the public.

Fourth and last work of the morning, Primitive Illusion by Natalia Camargo. Of the works heard throughout the concert, the obviously nationalist, due to the insistent rhythms used. Interesting organization of the voices, in the first section, phrases entrusted to 2 violas, then responsibility passes to 2 violins, then, as in a canon, to 2 cellos.

In the central episode, threatening interventions of the double bass, for the end incessant rhythms, the judicious handling of percussion in a festive atmosphere with dance atavisms.

Good job by the musicians and the director Zuluaga. Of course from the acclaimed composers.

The downpour warranted and the non-presence of RTVC was pleasing.