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Hector Berlioz

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

September 8

The difference a woman makes as music director

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped discSusanna Mälkki starts work at the Helsinki Philharmonic tomorrow. Here’s her opening programme: GYÖRGY LIGETI Atmospheres MAURICE RAVEL Shéhérazade KAIJA SAARIAHO Asteroid 4179: Toutatis JEAN SIBELIUS Canzonetta (arr. Stravinsky) MAGNUS LINDBERG Parada MAURICE RAVEL La Valse The only Sibelius is a Stravinsky arrangement, and there will be no more of him this season. Next week, Susanna conducts Boulez, Maresz and Berlioz. Over the next couple of months there will be Messiaen, Dutilleux, Debussy, Murail, Ravel. It’s a complete refresher course for Finnish ears. Which man would take such risks in the first season of his first music directorship?

Guardian

September 12

Connolly/Martineau: Isokoski/Paananen review – Wigmore season opens in fine form

Wigmore Hall, London Sarah Connolly brought intensity to lieder by Schumann and Mahler, and finesse to Berlioz and Debussy, while Soile Isokoski’s astonishing Brahms left the audience raptAs the Proms drew to a close, the Wigmore Hall season began with two extremely fine recitals on consecutive nights. Friday’s opening concert was given by Sarah Connolly and Malcolm Martineau. Schumann’s Hans Christian Andersen lieder, from his Op 40 set, and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder formed the evening’s first half. French music came after the interval.A restrained, subtle communicator, Connolly is often at her most engaging in recital, though on this occasion she took a few minutes to settle, with an occasional edge creeping into her high notes near the start, as if her voice was not quite fully warmed up. Fierce declamation captured the angst of Schumann’s Andersen settings, which deal with such harrowing subjects as infant mortality and death by firing squad. Carefully shaded soft singing and a fine sense of line characterised much of the Mahler, though she began Um Mitternacht at slightly too intense a level, not leaving herself quite enough dynamic or emotional space for the climactic final stanza to hit home as forcefully as it might. But Ich bin der Welt Abhanden Gekommen was beautifully done, the closing pianissimos hovering exquisitely. Continue reading...






Classical iconoclast

September 5

Musikfest Berlin 2016 Wolfgang Rihm Tutuguri

As the BBC Proms at last flicker into life, in Germany the Musikfest Berlin gets under way.. Over 19 days, 27 events featuring 70 works of around 35 composers, performed by 20 orchestras, instrumental and vocal ensembles and soloists. Full programme here, reflecting the concept that audiences are mature enough to handle real music, as Sir Henry Wood believed a hundred years ago, instead of the Potato Fudge the Proms have descended into this year (bar a few outstanding performances). But those of us who can't get to Berlin (largely sold out, in any case), some concerts will be broadcast via the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall (List here)  Listen live, because the broadcasts may be available for only 24 hours. On Saturday I caught Wolfgang Rihm's  Tutuguri with Daniel Harding and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.  This piece is legend, but not easy to pull off because it requires a huge orchestra, a whole row of percussion desks and elaborate off-stage effects   Rihm's  model for Tutuguri was a piece by  by Antonin Artaud, the actor and theatre theorist whose ideas have great influence on modern theatre, film, dance and music. Artaud believed that communication could exist on multiple levels.  Texts don't have to be spoken, nor even rational.  In Tutuguri, the soloist and invisible choir (on tape)  utter sounds in single syllable bursts of staccato, which don't have meaning in themselves: it's up to the audience to intuit the connections themselves.  If, of course, there "is" any meaning we can deduce. Artaud was fascinated by primal states of experience that cannot be articulated - hence the animalistic grunts and piercing screams. Orchestra and singers all on the same communal level.  Rihm's use of percussion is absolutely deliberate. because percussion reflects the rhythms of the human body, heartbeats, breathing, movement. This performance was exceptionally  muscular and physical, yet mesmerizing just as the rite it (sort of) describes would have been.  Savage as the subject may be, performance needs to be accurate and extremely tightly focussed or the whole point is missed.  This performance was so powerful that it far eclipsed Kent Nagano and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at  the Barbican last year (read my piece here).  The narrator,  Graham Forbes Valentine, who bore a disconcerting resemblance to Artaud, was so forceful that he seemed possessed, the tightness of his articulation like an elemental force oif nature. Luckily I was able to watch it three times through before Digital Concert Hall pulled it.  Explains why I'm too tired to write about Rossini Semiramide at the Proms, which I loved.  So don't miss the next livestream on Tuesday 6/9 when Valery Gergiev conducts the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in Shostakovich Symphony no 4 and Galina Ustvolskaya's Symphony no 3  "Jesus Messiah, save us", which I wrote about  in July HERE.  A striking piece I can't wait to hear again.  Ivan Fischer and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin on 8/9 with Hans Werner Henze I vitalino raddoppiato for violin (Julia Fischer) and chamber orchestra. A beautifully expressive piece which could easily stand up to Bruckner 7, which I heard last week with Haitink and RCOA livestreamed from Amsterdam. Andris Nelsons conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker on  Saturday 10th in Debussy Prélude à lʼaprès-midi dʼun faune,  Edgard Varèse Arcana and Berlioz Symphonie fantastique. An intelligent programme presented, no doubt, with flair and extremely high musical standards. More Varèse (Déserts) and Ligeti (Violin Concerto, Pekka Kuuisto) the next day with Jonathan Nott and the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie , followed by Beethoven 3 Eroica.  Then Dudamel Messiaen Turangalîla-Symphonie.  I heard this a few months back, but it's really for fans of the conductor rather than fans of the music. Kirill Petrenko conducts the Bayerisches Staatsorchester on 14/9 in Ligeti Lontano, Bartók Violin Concero no 1 (Frank Peter Zimmermann)  and Richard Strauss Sinfonia domestica.  Good combination, should be good.   Then John Adams conducts an all John Adams concert on 17/9.

Hector Berlioz
(1803 – 1869)

Hector Berlioz (December 11, 1803 – March 8, 1869) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a conductor, he performed several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. He also composed around 50 songs. His influence was critical for the further development of Romanticism, especially in composers like Richard Wagner, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and many others.



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