Review: Double Bass-Mania: Edicson Ruiz plays Dittersdorf
Double Bass-Mania: Edicson Ruiz plays Dittersdorf
Hong Kong Sinfonietta
HK City Hall Concert Hall
Reviewed: August 9
A new corner of the globe, Venezuela, has recently flooded classical music with vitality.
Edicson Ruiz - who performed Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf's Double Bass Concerto No 2 with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta - was trained in El Sistema, the network of children's orchestras that also produced the brilliant young conductor Gustavo Dudamel.
Ruiz, not yet 30 years old, wore a flowing, untucked shirt and played with the effortless joy of a boy doing tricks on a skateboard. The concerto was inventive and engaging if lacking the urgency of the music of Dittersdorf's friends Mozart and Haydn.
Cross-string passagework was virtuosic and doubly entertaining on the unwieldy bass. Ruiz swayed like a bear while skipping his bow lightly over the strings. He played the lyrical slow movement with clean intonation and a sweet vibrato. His marksmanship was spectacular on the high harmonics.
Chien Wen-pin is the conductor of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and you could hear the influence of opera in his approach, with fluid scene changes, vivid storytelling and a bold range of dynamics.
He radiated confidence in Richard Strauss' two poems, Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel. There was a delicious oboe solo with lovely long notes and artful hesitations. Clarinet solos were played with a flourish. The horn had a mixed night, with some wonderful ringing phrases and several misses. On the return of the same passage, every note was in place. Till Eulenspiegel ended the concert with over-the-top climaxes, with the percussion particularly excellent. Chien was born to conduct Mozart and gave his Symphony No 35 in D, Haffner, a beautiful performance.
The first movement had a satisfying, Beethoven-esque weight. The Andante and Finale: Presto were too rushed for my taste, lacking the tranquility of the Andante and the depth of sound in the Presto.