Classical Music

My reflections on, and reactions to, concerts and other performances of “classical” music (excluding opera)

Nicolas Jenson's typesetting of Marcellus' Compendiosa Doctrina. Victoria & Albert Museum: one of many interesting distractions to be found there.

Still here…

…but gone a bit quiet on the blogging front.  And that is despite some wonderful things to write about: the tremendous Bruckner 7 from Haitink and the LSO; Orphée et Eurydice in an inventive staging at Covent Garden; a beautifully crafted Strauss evening from the Leipzigers and Chailly; and the intimacy of Rossi’s Orpheus at the Sam Wanamaker…  (more…)

Quick catch-up…

Programmes April 2015

It’s been a hectic old time the last few weeks, so capturing thoughts on performances has rather got forgotten. They’ve been a diverse bunch as well.

So, in brief: (more…)

When in Rome…

Last weekend was spent amidst the overwhelmingly abundant delights of Rome. Quite why I’m now, on my return, a bit worn out may be explained by the amount that we packed in to four days: Pantheon, Colosseum, Forum, Palatine, Castel Sant’Angelo, St Peter’s, Vatican Museum, Galleria Borghese, San Clemente, numerous smaller churches and a good deal of wandering around the streets of this fascinating city. Unsurprisingly, I’m still digesting it.

Teatro dell'Opera di Roma... nothing to see here, move along...

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma… nothing to see here, move along…

Sadly, there was nothing on at the Teatro dell’Opera to coincide with our visit, but we did get along to two musical events: one planned, the other impromptu. We had prebooked a concert by the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in their newer home at the Parco della Musica at the north side of central Rome. And then, in our hotel, we picked up a leaflet for a ‘dinner-and-show’ package featuring La Traviata. Being at an otherwise loose end, we thought ‘why not?’ and booked it; it turned out to be surprisingly good. (more…)

Music in the Christmas countdown…

Christmas Day afternoon at South Norwood Lake

Christmas Day afternoon at South Norwood Lake

In the middle of November the days off at Christmas seem to take ages to arrive; in the middle weeks of December there seems to be no time at all as they career towards us. And then they appear to be over in a flash – or, perhaps, a haze – of social activity. By which I mean to own up to not having written up a couple of good musical events in those hectic pre-festive weeks.

One, in particular, was better than good: it was absolutely in a category where only superlatives will do. The last night of Tristan und Isolde at Covent Garden was the sort of performance that stays with you for a very long time, in fact I strongly suspect it is unlikely to be surpassed for its singing in my future opera-going. We had seen the first night, which was something wonderful, but by the end of the run the performance had cohered into something which was nothing short of transcendent.   (more…)

Kavakos’s enthusiastic Beethoven

Following a rather slow day, having got back to London about midnight from Glyndebourne’s disappointing Rosenkavalier, the evening was given over to the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonidas Kavakos in an all-Beethoven programme at the Barbican. It was just the tonic. (more…)

Kaufmann’s Winterreise

Curtain Call, Winterreise, Royal Opera House, 6 April 2014: Helmut Deutsch and Jonas Kaufmann

Curtain Call, Winterreise, Royal Opera House, 6 April 2014: Helmut Deutsch and Jonas Kaufmann (set: Act 3, Richard Eyre La Traviata) Blurry iPhone picture!

The long-awaited date arrived: Jonas Kaufmann finally stepped out into the stripped-down Act 3 set from La Traviata, with Helmut Deutsch at the piano, to give a performance of Schubert’s intense song-cycle Winterreise. And it was as remarkable as it was expected to be, more so perhaps than the recent CD issue suggested. (more…)

1840: a year of contrasts

Last night was, originally, to have been La Fille du Régiment at Covent Garden. However, when we got lucky with tickets for the Christian Gerhaher recital at Wigmore Hall, La Fille had to go – well, in fact we moved to last Sunday’s matinee. The contrast between the two was marked, to be sure. It’s a bit difficult to think back on Fille with Gerhaher’s glorious, and resolutely serious, Schumann still fresh in my ears. (more…)