Nothing follows Mahler 6 and surely nothing should precede it. Nothing. Even a piece as compelling as James MacMillan’s Viola Concerto here receiving its World Premiere under the extraordinary fingers of its dedicatee Lawrence Power. There’s only so much intensity and so many notes we can take on board in a single concert and I, … [Read More]
During the momentous last century – so richly contextualised in the South Bank’s The Rest is Noise festival – there were two points at which factions within the musical establishment sought to step back, take stock, and clean house of their complex and ever more elaborate excesses. There was Schoenberg with his 12-tone disciplines imagining … [Read More]
Britten’s innate theatricality shines through every single bar of his War Requiem. Atmosphere, drama, suspense, and high emotionalism is to a greater or lesser degree written into the piece (something which the naysayers always latch on to). And yet, with its planes of sound so precisely appropriated there is an acoustical part to be … [Read More]
I think we can now say with absolute certainty that Stuart Skelton is the pre-eminent Peter Grimes of the present time. Just as Peter Pears originated the role for a whole generation and Jon Vickers redefined it and Philip Langridge made us re-think it, so Skelton has become Grimes, reconciling the bluff fisherman with the … [Read More]
Legends, myths, and Nietzsche’s Superman – which for the purposes of this London Philharmonic Prom was none other than Vladimir Jurowski himself. His extraordinary ear, his nurturing and layering of texture, was a constant source of intrigue and delight and at least one performance – that of Sibelius’ tone poem Pohjola’s Daughter – was revelatory … [Read More]
The Major-Domo promises fireworks during the Prologue of Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Katharina Thoma, the director of Glyndebourne’s new staging, drops a bombshell – actually several bombshells. Glyndebourne’s wartime history – as a refuge for evacuees – would seem to have chimed with the darker implications of the opera within – namely … [Read More]
Vladimir Jurowski deemed this the most challenging of any programme in the South Bank’s year long The Rest is Noise festival and proceeded to tell us precisely why. That his little preamble lasted almost twice as long as the first piece – Webern’s Variations for Orchestra Op.30 – was an indicator of just how scientific … [Read More]
A single bottom C sunk deeper than even the deepest underground trains running so audibly below the Royal Festival Hall was the auspicious start to the South Bank Centre’s much anticipated festival “The Rest is Noise”. Forget Hamlet’s famous last words, when Zarathustra has spake the sound resonates through an eternity of silence.
Alex Ross’ … [Read More]
The heady symbolism of the London Philharmonic and Russian National orchestras sitting cheek by jowl for the climax of Vladimir Jurowski’s War and Peace series was a powerful one and if, on occasions, the melding of these two excellent orchestras resulted in rather less than complete symbiosis musically speaking, the section by section acknowledgement of … [Read More]
Working backwards from Rachmaninov’s Choral Symphony “The Bells” Vladimir Jurowski’s latest confection in the new London Philharmonic season was an extraordinary resourceful and cleverly juxtaposed sequence of tintinnabulations, real and imagined, actual and suggested, celebratory and mournful – the ringing that in all cases evaporates into silence.
Miaskovsky’s Silentium (a UK premiere) was central, descending … [Read More]