Category: Classical Source Reviews

Going out with a bang at Poole

Going out with a bang at Poole

Wednesday’s concert at the Lighthouse concluded one of the most imaginative orchestral partnerships in the UK. As the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s second-longest-serving chief conductor, Kirill Karabits bid farewell to colleagues in Poole following his fifteen-year tenure during which time he has championed much unfamiliar music in his ‘Voices from the East’ series. His final concert …

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Royal Academy of Music – Martinů double bill – Comedy on the Bridge & Twice Alexander

Royal Academy of Music – Martinů double bill – Comedy on the Bridge & Twice Alexander

It’s not so much twice Alexander as thrice Martinů, since this double bill of operas by that composer here happily follows soon after the Royal Opera House’s equally rare staging of Larmes de couteau at the Linbury Studio. Like that work, Comedy on the Bridge and Twice Alexander are wry observations on love and relationships; and ‘comedy’ is to be taken …

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Orchestra of St Luke’s/Xian Zhang at Carnegie Hall – Brahms’s Begräbnisgesang & Ein deutsches Requiem

Orchestra of St Luke’s/Xian Zhang at Carnegie Hall – Brahms’s Begräbnisgesang & Ein deutsches Requiem

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s wound up its 2023-2024 season on Carnegie Hall’s mainstage with a winning program of Brahms.featuring two choral masterpieces by Brahms including this Hall’s premiere of Begräbnisgesang (Burial Song) scored for SATB choir and twelve wind instruments (oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trombones) and timpani. Hopeful as well as tragic, it emanates archaism – …

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Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle at Carnegie Hall – Hindemith, Zemlinsky & Mahler

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle at Carnegie Hall – Hindemith, Zemlinsky & Mahler

Five years on, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra returned to Carnegie Hall now with its new Chief Conductor. In line with the ‘Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice’, the concert opened with two representative works. First up, Paul Hindemith’s satirical Ragtime (Well-Tempered), which cleverly combines the theme from J. S. Bach’s C-minor fugue …

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Deutsche Oper, Berlin – Richard Strauss’s Intermezzo – Philipp Jekal, Maria Bengtsson & Thomas Blondelle; directed by Tobias Kratzer; conducted by Donald Runnicles

<div>Deutsche Oper, Berlin – Richard Strauss’s Intermezzo – Philipp Jekal, Maria Bengtsson & Thomas Blondelle; directed by Tobias Kratzer; conducted by Donald Runnicles</div>

A ‘bourgeois comedy’ is how Strauss described his autobiographical opera (1924), based on a real incident in which a misdirected letter (owing to the confusion of Strauss’s name with a similar one) was wrongly interpreted by his wife, the soprano Pauline de Ahna, as evidence of a love affair and therefore grounds for a divorce. …

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Radu Lupu Live, Volumes 3 and 4

Radu Lupu Live, Volumes 3 and 4

As with the first two volumes of this series, these CDs mainly capture the celebrated Romanian pianist in his early years.   Lupu’s Mozart is urban, elegant and rhythmically sprung with occasional ritenuti and pedal use and thankfully the slow movements are given time to breathe. The accompaniments are variable. Kempe’s woodwind are provincial, the horns …

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New Sussex Opera – Lampe’s The Dragon of Wantley

New Sussex Opera – Lampe’s The Dragon of Wantley

John Frederick Lampe’s opera The Dragon of Wantley (1737) is based on a Yorkshire legend about a ferocious dragon who terrorises the area of Wharncliffe Crags that was made better known in a ballad. The opera served not only to satirise the conventions of Italian (particularly Handelian) opera seria (the scenario conveniently echoes the story of Angelica’s rescue from …

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A love affair with Mendelssohn at the Anvil

A love affair with Mendelssohn at the Anvil

In these revelatory performances from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Sir András Schiff, no one could possibly doubt his passion for Mendelssohn who Hans von Bulow once waspishly declared “began life as a genius and ended as a talent.” Anticipating a complete traversal of Mendelssohn’s symphonies with the same forces at the …

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Takács Assad Labro

Takács Assad Labro

Through their work with the Hungaraton, Decca and Hyperion labels the Takács Quartet are very much associated with the core repertoire, so this release featuring five contemporary composers, bandoneón (a cross between a concertina and accordion) and a piano piece with scat vocals looked fascinating. The album features three pieces using bandoneón and string quartet. In Clarice Assad’s Circles you …

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Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall – Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Mahler 7 – Karen Gargill sings Alma Mahler

Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall – Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Mahler 7 – Karen Gargill sings Alma Mahler

In a program showcasing music by the Mahlers, Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Philadelphia Orchestra in the former’s Seventh Symphony, preceded by four elusive songs by his wife (née Alma Schindler) in skillfully crafted 1995 arrangements by Colin and David Matthews. With their angular melodies and abrupt modulations, the highly romantic pieces are reminiscent of Alexander Zemlinsky, …

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