The venerable and venerated Philadelphia Orchestra swept into London bearing gifts and mixed messages from Nico Muhly. Actually that was the title of his crowd-pleasing opener for the orchestra – Mixed Messages (UK Premiere) – and for a moment or two the confusion implicit in the title might have extended to the identity of the … [Read More]
Music lovers invariably divide into two faction over the Brahms piano concertos: those who thrill to the elemental D minor and those who prefer to bask in the more reflective charms of the sumptuous B-flat Second Concerto. I’m a D minor man myself, secretly convinced that the four-movement Second would prove a far more startling … [Read More]
With the imminent release of a scorching account of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra set the bar very high (too high?) for their Prom curtain-raiser – Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy-Overture “Romeo and Juliet”. The opening of this piece is a nightmare of woodwind chording and tuning and whilst the quality of … [Read More]
It’s on occasions like this that the star-rating system runs into irreconcilable difficulties. I honestly cannot remember a time when musical and theatrical values were in such total divergence. The Royal Opera’s long-overdue first staging of Dvorak’s late masterpiece Rusalka is an incomprehensible travesty – hideously designed (Barbara Ehnes and Anja Rabes) and ineptly directed … [Read More]
Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony – the 9th – poses many questions, none more perplexing than what might have been in terms of its absent finale.
There are those who insist that the great Catholic symphonist had completely sketched and all but scored the final movement – but attempts to stitch together a performing version have … [Read More]
Two perfect works in perfect equilibrium; Mozart and Mahler well met indeed. But even as the violin and viola soloists separated from the opening tutti of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat in perfectly symmetrical octaves it was evident that the conductor for the evening – the gifted Yannick Nézet-Séguin – might have a slightly different … [Read More]
Fashion is a strange thing. There was a time when the César Franck Symphony was popular core repertoire. All the greats performed and recorded it – Monteux, Bernstein, Karajan. Suddenly it was out of vogue – obsolete, neglected. Why? Hearing it again after so long an absence (I really cannot remember when I last heard … [Read More]