Archive | April, 2011

Is it a yey or a ney?

27 Apr

A number of critics have written their reviews of The Tsar’s Bride that currently runs at the Royal Opera House.

Based on the common knowledge that I am no huge fan of  Poplavskaya here is how the reviews I’ve seen shape up:

  • The Daily Mail’s critic judges her performance as outstanding
  • Rupert in the Torigraph seems to think she was in shinningly beautiful voice
  • The Islington Gazette seems to ignore her.
  • The Stage gives and overall glowing review highlighting Marina’s sensitivity coming to the fore.
  • Over at The Guardian, Andrew Clements found her performance glacial and reading between the lines he allows as to assume trite. While his Observer colleague Fiona Maddocks gave points to her coolness matching to the heroine but points out to poor intonation and dryness.
  • Bachtrack’s David Karlin seemed rather impressed with her performance and called it memorable and lyrical.
  • What’s on Stage didn’t quite mentions anything particularly about her performance on the night.
  • The Independent’s Anna Picard was not that impressed by the opera itself but seemed to enjoy the singing +1 for Popsy, then.

To do it in scorecard stylee

So this time it seems Marina has won over the professionals…hope I will be able to confirm that with my piece that will come after tonight’s performance!

Links for reviews:

What’s on Stage

Daily Mail

Daily Telegraph

Islington Gazette

What’s on Stage

The Guardian

The Observer

Bachtrack

The Independent

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The Baroque Maenad takes London / Anne Sofie von Otter / Wigmore Hall – 21 April 2011

23 Apr

Programme

Monteverdi
Sinfonia from ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria’
Di misera regina from ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria’
In questo basso mondo from ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria’
Strozzi
Cantata: Che si può fare
Monteverdi
Sí dolce è’l tormento
Provenzale
Squarciato appena havea

Interval

Rossi
Mio ben, teco il tormento
Charpentier
Quel prix de mon amour from ‘Médée’
Purcell
From silent shades
Handel
Where’er you walk from ‘Semele’
Passacaglia in G minor for violin and cello
Ogni vento from ‘Agrippina’

What can I really say about any concert by Anne Sofie von Otter than hasn’t been written before?

It was the third concert of a very live music heavy week and in my heart it was a rare treat as we do not get to enjoy her gifts too frequently in London. This concert at the Wigmore Hall was the perfect fit of venue and performers, the intimate space allowing both for actual conversation with Anne Sofie and for the period instruments of Capella Mediterranea to be clearly audible in the usual warm acoustic of the Hall.

The opening sinfonia got us all warmed up for what was to follow and gave ASvO time to sit down enjoy and to get into character. The orchestra’s playing was instantly warm to the point of bringing back memories of provincial Greek weddings (in the best possible sense, I’ll have you know). Very much the polar opposite of most very poised period instrument musical ensembles that stay immobile, Capella Mediterranea were swaying and really getting physically to grips with Monteverdi. And when she joined them for Penelope’s lament she was both subdued as appropriate to the part and commanding. The narrative passages were pretty much treated to how ancient Greek epic poets like Homer would have sang along while playing the lyre. In a vibrant but not overacted engagement. It made for a very effective vehicle for her expressed sorrow and longing for the return of Ulysses.  In questo baso mondo provided a nice closing to this first Monteverdi section with the two violin players joining in as the Phoenicians alongside their musical director from behind the harpsichord. At that point ASvO took the opportunity to point out a couple of inaccuracies in the printed text in the programme, including the shortened version of the Monteverdi arietta with only three verses instead of the five that they performed at larger venues with a choir.  It was beautiful and decorous and surely no preparation for what was to come next!

ASvO gave a perky little speech about the background of Provenzale’s piece, the involvement of Queen Christina of Sweden and him losing out on a job to Scarlatti. We all expected an ironic scena, but what we got was ASvO having a drum and a set of maracas! The scene alternates from pseudo sadness to exhilaration, she acted both moods with aplomb, danced along and had a great time with the musicians even encouraging the audience to join in for the finale. A very lively way to end the first half which was dotted with pain, abandonment and… maracas! As my companion noted it was refreshing to have an artist of that stature being able to have fun with the music and the audience and not to take herself too seriously. As I Tweeted at the time it was Stevie Nicks meets the Baroque.

After the interval we were treated two a beautiful coupling of Rossi and Charpentier. The first used the higher end of her tessitura to a beautiful effect, after all the upper registers of her voice are where the money notes tend to reside. Her tone was smooth taut and ardent, one couldn’t really ask for more. Her  Médée was much more subdued than her recorded version which I thought it was slightly disappointing, I would have like a bit more venom, a bit more darkness. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait for too long as her rendition of  From silent shades was almost a miniature opera in depicting an unhinged mental state. Particularly helped by the solo harpsichord the emotional punch of the piece was much stronger than expected. And again her talent as a character maker came through, her Bess of Bedlam was beautifully acted and voiced with the most silvery mezza voce imaginable. The Handel section was a rare treat from ASvO as she tends to not perform as much of his work as she used to in the past, possibly a reflection of the possibilities open by more mature roles that French Baroque can offer. But this time round she became Jupiter and serenaded Semele to a great effect. This was a voice and attitude that has been honed in long Handelian service, full of experience and seer unadulterated love for the repertoire. Of course closing the concert with Ogni Vento it was just the perfect coda to the evening. And we all waited for the encores after possibly one of the loudest and most insistent applauses I have ever heard at The Wigmore. She accepted the love of the audience with restraint and almost coquettish sweetness.

Encores

Both encores were greeted with rapturous applause and she joked about The Dark is my Delight (a consort song by an Anonymous composer with a text dating back to 1615) not being the best text there is. But the way she wove the words and the music it became as good and interesting as anything she sang that night. She imbued all the lines with a childlike delicacy and sense of wonder. If there were any singers in the audience I’m sure they would have found it an empowering example.

Here are the words:

The dark is my delight:
So ’tis the nightingale’s.
My music’s in the night;
So is the nightingale’s.
My body is but little;
So is the nightingale’s.
I love to sleep against the prickle;
So doth the nightingale.

After that confection and with all of us and her laughing out loud she wished us all a good evening and hoped her aria from L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Arnalta’s lullaby Adagati, Poppea ) would safely accompany us to bed. Her total mastery of Baroque music was shown off to its extremity, von Otter’s silvery delivery almost described the scene in the peaceful garden that Arnalta is comforting Poppea. Her last two lines : E pur vedete, pur vedete, E pur vedete addormentato il sole were possible some of the best singing I have ever heard live. The way she sustained the melodic line and wove Monteverdi’s magic spell across the auditorium,  with such simplicity and yet amazing musicality was stunning. It was one of those rare sublime moments in live performance where the audience became one with the performer, her sustained final note was so beautiful that I am hoping it will accompany me for the rest of my life.

Here’s an interactive presentation of the shots from her curtain call (requires Silverlight in order to view it): Click!

Today is the day

21 Apr

A musically intense week continues with a hopefully amazing concert by Anne Sofie von Otter. After seeing Natalie Dessay the other night, von Otter is another long term favourite of mine. I can’t believe the last time our diaries synchronised was back at the Proms over 4-5 years ago! (missed out on her Terezín/Theresienstadt concert in 2009 clashed with my holidays). I have admired her for her working ethos and her wonderful performances  on record (how can you not adore her Ariodante or her Weill songs). A singer of true versatility and impeccable taste.

Here’s the programme to whet you appetite, I’ll do my best to write a review for you perusal ASAP!

Monteverdi
Sinfonia from ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria’
Di misera regina from ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria’
In questo basso mondo from ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria’
Strozzi
Cantata: Che si può fare
Monteverdi
Sí dolce è’l tormento
Provenzale
Squarciato appena havea
Rossi
Mio ben, teco il tormento
Charpentier
Quel prix de mon amour from ‘Médée’
Weldon (attrib. Purcell)
Dry those eyes from ‘The Tempest’
Purcell
From silent shades
Handel
Where’er you walk from ‘Semele’
Passacaglia in G minor for violin and cello
Ogni vento from ‘Agrippina’

Here’s an interactive presentation of the shots from her curtain call: Click!

A three act Pelléas et Mélisande, yes three acts! / Barbican Hall – 19 April 2011

20 Apr

Cast

Natalie Dessay Mélisande
Simon Keenlyside Pelléas
Marie-Nicole Lemieux Geneviève
Laurent Naouri Golaud
Alain Vernhes Arkel
Khatouna Gadelia Yniold
Nahuel Di Pierro Doctor

My knowledge of French opera is at most rudimentary,  and never had the time to tackle Pelléas et Mélisande head on before. Unfortunately due to my bad planning and awful London transport I was too late for the start so let’s pretend that Act One never existed. Also I would not recommend to anyone to be late if you have second row tickets…got a grumpy look from Simon Keenlyside as we sat down!

I had listened to numerous excerpts of the opera and always found the expansive soundworld of Debussy to be interesting and compositionally accomplished but never quite grabbed me like much of Italian opera from the Baroque to the 19th century. So I knew the only way I’d sit down and listen to the whole opera would be a live performance. After seeing the cast I booked my tickets almost a year ahead and the journey started!

From the first bars of the Act Two it was very clear that Langrée and his Parisian forces were totally idiomatic, their soundstage was wide and enveloping the textural detail was there and the string playing was creamy and flowing like the many watery references in the work. A nice touch was how Langrée was almost singing along with the singers reciting (silently) the libretto alongside the performers he was queuing.

What seemed a bit strange was that Dessay, possibly the most famed singing actress of our time, was almost immobile and seemed almost attached to her score. There were glimpses of acting, like in the scene where she drops the ring in the well and her conversation with Pelléas was full of warmth and familiarity which accompanied with Keenlyside’s ardent boyish acting and Dessay’s radiant forward projection it was a marvel. But when the question of Pelléas by Golaud came about Naouri stole the show with vibrant acting that seemed natural and emotionally involved and his singing was as accomplished. I particularly enjoyed how he used the page turning of his score as a way to express the turmoil of his character while questioning Pelléas about Mélisande. He was also wonderfully naturalistic in his interaction with Yniold, being at times tender and at times very harsh and investigative.  Khatouna Gadelia is one young soprano to watch out for, she showed a fresh tone, beautiful diction and vibrant dramatic qualities.

In Acts Three and Four Dessay gave us a beautifully sang heroine reaching the end of her life with a tragic but at the same time a breezy resignment. Her declaring I’m not happy to Golaud was emotional and beautifully sang which made her apparent over-reliance on the score all the more annoying as her singing was delicate and powerful as needed for the part of the romantic heroine.

Of course what stroke me in quite a few places was the banality of the libretto, especially some of the metaphors looked even worse in translation e.g. water in a muslin bag comes to mind. Of course Italian libretti are full of silly references and bizarre plotlines but at least they are saved by the melodies within the score, they have key arias that lift the work. With Pelléas et Mélisande there is no such respite, which in part is a credit to Debussy’s boldness and in the other hand it can be suffocating during a live performance.

The very lushness and enveloping nature of the score is not to be underestimated, as I tellingly Tweeted about it, it reminded me of a wall to wall plush carpeted London semi. And that I was more of a floorboards kind of guy (which is totally true by the way). It seems that the me and Claude will not get along too well for sometime but it was a great experience that I wouldn’t want to repeat to soon. But dear patient reader that has nothing to do with the quality of the performance as this was a wonderful cast  with the exception maybe  of Alain Vernhes who was underpowered against the enveloping forces of the orchestra, that may have to do with the conductor not being too attentive and keeping the playing at lower levels of volume. And a truly excellent and idiomatic orchestra it’s just me and Claude will have to talk over our differences in the near future and maybe some rapport can be built.  

And of course it was charming having the orchestra playing Happy Birthday for Natalie Dessay with all of us singing very badly to it. And also odd having a member of the audience four seats away booing rather violently Langrée at the end of the performance, we were all puzzled at his reaction, but hey, clearly Debussy affects people in totally different ways, at least he didn’t fall asleep! I also regret not seeing Lemieux perform in Act One as I can imagine she would have been sensational. I’ll have to wait for her next performance at The Barbican with Joyce Didonato in Ariodante which will have to be one of the highlights of this year!  

Here is the link to Fiona Maddocks’s expert review of the same performance: Click!

To the coast for some birthday Bach / Nick Van Bloss + English Chamber Orchestra – 17 April 2011

19 Apr

Programme

Bach Brandendurg Concerto No.3

Vivaldi “Spring” from the Four Seasons

Bach Piano Concerto in D major

Corelli Concerto Grosso Op.6 No.2

Bach Piano Concerto in F minor

Vivaldi Concerto for 4 Violins

English Chamber Orchestra 

Stephanie Gonley violin/director

Nick van Bloss piano

I have been hearing the critics making a lot of noise about Nick Van Bloss’s Goldberg Variations recording and to be given the chance to see him play live on my birthday it made it a wonderful treat.

Having done my rudimentary research on the Cliffs Pavilion I quite liked what I read. This was not to be my first ever visit to the venue but to the town itself.  On entry it all seemed rather friendly and surely less standoffish than the audience of John Smith’s Sq last week. Also an interesting range of ages, coming to a concert while it’s beautifully sunny outside and by the water has to be applauded!  As I sat down there was a mixture of excitement and fear, as I had purposefully avoided being exposed to Nick’s playing up to that stage, and since his two concerti were the star of the show, my brain was asking questions on what if I didn’t like his touch or thought his playing was too decorous and dull (like much of Bach tends to be, and the main reason I avoid him quite frequently).

The Orchestra made a good start with the Bach Brandenburg Concerto N3 and Stefanie led Spring from the Four Seasons with undeniable passion (to the point that she lost a string in the process!). Then the grand appeared and I took a sharp intake of breath…and started over-analysing while the sound of Berenboim’s piano was whirling in my head.  In the D major concerto the opening movement was beautifully sculpted and surely living up to the Allegro demanded by the composer. I’ll attribute a couple of flaws to nerves but they were quickly forgotten due to the richness of the sound and the involved playing. Unlike the rather static and hollow sound that Barenboim gave us the other night, Nick Van Bloss’s playing was much more warm and emotional. When the Adagio of the second movement came, it was a true tour de force, delicate but alert, lyrical but not ornamental and above all it felt very personal. I’m afraid to say from that point on I felt more like a fan than a member of the audience trying to be overtly critical. The same kind of reaction Martha Argerich causes every time,  I really don’t care if all the notes are in the right place, as what you get from her is a search for truth and individuality that is lacking so much in the world of the piano virtuoso. The concerto concluded beautifully with the Allegro in a fiery very much forceful touch, a refreshing change from all the pianists that tend to treat Bach as a museum piece where the touch is uniform and the dynamics of the modern concert grand are not utilised. Nick used all the expressive power of the piano backed by its capabilities to provide a much harder sound than a harpsichord. The approach was very welcome and indeed was greeted by an extremely happy audience.

The second half and well lubricated with a G&T, we started with a vibrant rendition of the Corelli which was leading to the second Bach Concerto. It started with a beautiful display of prowess and great articulation of the individual phrases but at the same time with a great sense of control. But again for me the Largo was where his playing turned more delicate and emotional; I can’t imagine that anyone in the auditorium would fail to be touched by such wonderful playing and the obvious outpouring of emotion. The final movement again was a very lively take on the Presto with a freshness that made old Bach seem much more modern. The audience howled in appreciation which was well earned.

The show closed with the Vivaldi concerto and it was rather lovely, but we all knew that the concert had finished when the last bars of the Bach concerto had sounded.

I will surely be looking forward to hearing Nick again live soon and maybe even I’d love him to tackle some later repertoire from his monogrammed piano stool (here is a picture posted by the man himself! ). With his very powerful sound I can imagine what joys he can offer with some Rachmaninoff.  This was surely one of the greatest birthday presents I’ve ever received. And it was well worth the two hour drive to be there. Totally against all the dismayed reactions I got about going to Southend-on-Sea, I got the impression of a place very much alive in sharp contrast to other towns further down the South coast (Bexhill-on-Sea I’m pointing at you!).



Alexander the great

14 Apr

Was terribly surprised, to find by chance today that the retrospective exhibition is about to open in New York! To say I’ve always have been a huge fan of his ideas and mix of art and fashion would be an understatement. I truly envy the visitors to the Met that will enjoy such beauty…let’s hope it gets a transfer the V&A a place that inspired him greatly.

I’ve already pre-ordered my catalogue as there is such penury of decent literature on his career, this catalogue will be a wonderful tome to have and to flick through for inspiration. Hopefully a worthy tribute to his intellectual curiosity and true pioneering spirit. I unfortunately never had the chance to meet him but will be eternally inspired by a lot of his creations and more importantly his ideas of what fashion can become. In my mind he was the designer that really did not go after the market, he was much closer to an installation artist with a particular love for the darker coves of the human soul. As twee as it sounds a true visual art visionary.

The boring bits:

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

May 4, 2011–July 31, 2011

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, 2nd floor

Here’s the link to the catalogue: http://store.metmuseum.org/met-publications/alexander-mcqueen-savage-beauty/invt/80011804/

Here’s the link to the exhibition blog:  http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/

Elizabeth Llewellyn – some impressions / St John’s Smith Square – 13 April 2011

14 Apr

Elizabeth Llewellyn, Soprano

Simon Lepper, Pianist

Programme

HANDEL

Alcina \ Ma quando tornerai

Rodelinda \ Se’il mio duol

MOZART

Le Nozze di Figaro \ E Susanna non vien!… Dove sono

WALTON \ A Song for the Lord Mayor’s Table

The Lord Mayor’s Table

Glide gently

Wapping Old Stairs

Holy Thursday

The Contrast

Rhyme

– INTERVAL –

STRAUSS

Ständchen

All’ mein Gedanken

Du meines Herzens Krönelein

Nachtgang

Allerseelen

PUCCINI

La Bohème \ Mi chiamano Mimì

VERDI

Simon Boccanegra \ Come in quest’ora bruna

GOUNOD

Faust \ Ah! je ris de me voir

This was a very interesting evening, one of those nights one goes home feeling that something beautiful has started.

The programme was very ambitious, the first half almost felt something the young Joan Sutherland would have sung, while the second was more like a young Grace Bumbry! That kind of wide-ranging ambition is at once interesting but at the same time does not make an as satisfying live concert as it reads on paper.

The first half was marred for me by what seemed rather plodding piano playing for the two Handel numbers, and while her voice was bright and penetrating somehow it lacked the limpid quality the best Handel singers possess. It was well sung but not a natural fit. The Mozart aria was interesting but again it did not quite work in my view and it sounded a bit on the generic side. The Walton cycle was much more sympathetic to her voice and it brought out her charming stage persona with a distinct sense of humour.  When the interval arrived I was happy to be there and enjoying myself but somehow feeling a bit let down by the two first arias.

On the second half the Strauss songs were very vividly portrayed with a natural sense of drama and joy. Her accurate tone and phrasing were a real treat. This was followed by a truly masterful and heartfelt Mimi, clearly informed by her stage experience, she gave the fragility and the youthful attitude of the heroine in the most wonderful mezza voce with dazzling high passages. As I normally cannot be bothered with Puccini this was captivating and full of study and beauty. Her Verdi was again beautiful but I kept thinking that she was lacking the reserves of a more wide-ranging tessitura, her voice is extremely strong in its middle and upper registers while having a totally underdeveloped lower register, which in Verdian roles adds that extra bit of expression and depth.

The final item on the programme was the jewel song from Faust and while it was again very honest and immediate, it seemed to lack the thrilling trills that the style demands. Of course that opens the old can of worms about trills and how some singers naturally cannot accomplish them. Could Elizabeth trill like there’s no tomorrow with further tuition? I really do not know, but the lack of those all important trills spoiled a beautiful aria. (Listening to Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland sing it as I’m writing this make it all too clear)

All the above may seem like a mixed bag of a review/impressions. But I can honestly say that Elizabeth does posses a very warm stage presence and a really remarkable voice that can hopefully mature with a stronger lower register and find repertoire that fits and brings out the most attractive aspects of it. I can imagine her singing verismo with huge success and even Elena in I Vespri and I’m titillated at the possibility for any bel canto roles. This was a very interesting introduction for a new artist and hope it will be the springboard for a fruitful career.

It seemed that the concert was being recorded so looking forward to listening to it again in the future and maybe revising this quick appraisal.

A few thoughts on Daniel Barenboim at Tate Modern

10 Apr

I have been wondering in the last 24 hours how the hell do I start writing about last night’s impromptu Daniel Barenboim concert at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall? Most of the reviews seem to mainly care about the music and trying to judge it as a straight up classical performance. For me that seems to be overlooking the obvious fact that this wasn’t. The two main elements of a mainstream classical performance were missing, a ticket paying audience and a purpose built venue.

The Audience

From the point I joined the queue it was obvious that there was a healthy mix of ages, most unlike the classical and operatic performances I’ve ever been to. The nature of the free distribution of the tickets (online on the previous day) meant that social media spread the message far and wide and an interesting clued up clientele was able to take advantage of the opportunity. Of course out of the 400 seated guests there was a rather large community of critics that Universal Music PRs seemed to be all too keen to please. That slightly took away some of the innocence of the enterprise but after all it was organised by them and clearly they wanted the widest possible promotion. Most importantly for me there were about 1000 people lining the downstairs floor of the Turbine Hall.

The Venue

Trying to think the Turbine Hall and judge it as a traditional classical music venue will only end in a gross distortion of the actual experience. Fiona Maddocks in her excellent review for The Guardian described the acoustic akin to a swimming pool and she wasn’t far off. Despite all its faults the venue made the experience unique and added that special occasion ingredient that is so frequently missing at a more orthodox venue. And despite the acoustic the bridge of the Hall felt very intimate, having Barenboim and the musicians of the Staatskapelle Berlin be at arm’s length from my seat was very intimate and almost personal. Again a quality missing from any classical musical barn the world over.

The Programme

A few churlish critics complained about him playing Chopin at such a cavernous space. And in the usual arrogance of the reviewer they almost suggest he didn’t think of that problem before the show. Of course if the critics have listened enough at one of his mini speeches they would have got the answer. He programmed Chopin for the warmth and because the evening was about communication and reaching out. He pointedly referred to how his Nocturnes and smaller form pieces were arrogantly seen as a lesser form of musical expression and became fodder for educating the middle classes in the art of finding the right notes on the clavier. And the ultimate reason was there between the lines, he wanted repertoire that would not alienate a new audience, a solid starting point.

The Playing

I have to admit this was my first time I listened to him live and being inclined to more full bloodied pianists his sound was commanding but somehow lacking in power of feeling. But surely the gravitas was there. The excerpt from Chopin’s 1st Piano Concerto was warm and the string players did their best to add body to the paired down orchestration. The standout moment of the night was when he was playing the 8th Nocturne in D flat one of those magical feelings overtook the evening and elevated it, despite the fact the sound of the solo piano was somehow disappearing behind my right ear somehow the mix of venue and music came together. The other three solo pieces were amusing and encouraged further chats with the audience.

Romancing the Turbines

Tate Modern’s architecture is a celebrated brand of industrial chic. It can seem distant and even glacial at times. While he played the Nocturne we could all see the last remaining visitors being escorted from the three exhibition floors above. It was almost an elegant coincidence, the visitors being shown the way out but happening upon the highlight of the evening. Now that would have been a welcome surprise the next time I’m thrown out of a Gallery or Museum! And that part of the audience is the one I hope had their imagination titillated and maybe aroused in them a curiosity to explore orchestral music if they haven’t done so before. For me that coloured the whole evening.

Communication is the conclusion

This very odd concert was an open armed embrace to all present; it had a certain level of warmth and charm that is lacking quite frequently in a lot of music venues.  I had not dared to enter one of the concert halls of this city till I started working at the Royal Albert Hall, that brought me into contact with some amazing music that I never knew existed, being able to listen to the Berlin Philharmonic, Martha Argerich, the Halle, the London Symphony Orchestra, and unfortunately too many bad performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra demythologized the nature and the conventions of classical performance. I did not need too many excuses to look out for the next concert or look out for my newly discovered favourite performers. But trying to imagine my 20 year old self happening upon Barenboim’s concert as I was walking out of Tate Modern, the implications of the night become clear. Even if three people in the audience went home on Friday and were intrigued enough to go to an orchestral performance in the near future, then he performed a good deed beyond reproach.

What the world needs is better access to great music not churlish critics nit picking trying to find flaws and to show off their over gorged sense of self. It’s that kind of puritanical approach that makes concert going an activity hallowed and only for the discerning folk. I’ll say total bollocks to all that. Ladies and gentlemen critics, Daniel Barenboim proved you all wrong; this show was an evening of sharing and of creating something out of absolute nothing. A wonderful still centre in this crazy city where love for music, ideas and sharing conquered. All of us can take a lesson out of this evening and try to embrace that excitement and freshly found thirst a new convert has. Trying to allow ourselves to approach each performance not as competitive sport but as a chance to come into contact with great artistry wherever it’s coming from and giving it a chance to enrich our lives.

(Apologies for the length, I’ve been told by a very good source that no one reads 1000 word reviews, this not being strictly that, will hopefully be read by more than two people. Anyway thank you for making the effort; we may rub noses at some future concert!)

Been to a flashmob…now welcome the flashclassicalgig*

8 Apr

Yesterday morning had a very interesting start to my day. Customarily scan my timeline on Twitter to see if I have missed anything overnight and have a giggle with the odd post/link.

Jessica Duchen broke the news about the performance marking the 60th anniversary of Daniel Barenboim’s first public performance with a free concert on the bridge of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall (here’s Jessica’s blog: http://bit.ly/f3Z14h) I was rather intrigued by it and quickly registered my details. It seemed like an interesting marriage of old and new, the flashmob mentality with the anniversary of classical music royalty.

To my great relief I managed to get a ticket, but to my surprise it was in singular indeed! Whoever though of that at Universal should really review the policy for next time round, concert going are inherently social occasions and I always share them with my partner. At this occasion it’s not going to happen and it sadden’s me.

I’m curious to see if there will be a large number of silver surfers there (the prevalent audience for classical concerts) or will it be an audience that’s younger less experienced and curious to see what the fuss is all about (the kind of audience Barenboim was targeting with this one off event according to a couple of interviews)

I will make sure I report back (and surely nothing as long as The Iliad, as that tends to be the malaise of blogs today), but I can imagine it will be a very interesting evening ahead. He may have gone too political and maybe rested for too long on the cushion afforded to him by his reputation, but I am all up to be surprised and to be enthralled. He has had an extraordinary career and this will be a celebration suitable for a performer of his caliber.

*(surely the worst coined term ever)

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