Reader’s comment on Prom 14: Stuttgart Radio SO/Norrington – review | Music | The Guardian
It was an immense, indescribable joy to celebrate our wedding anniversary at “one of the most important symphonic concerts in a very long time” with Mahler’s Ninth and a champagne & strawberries picnic.
The comments to this review will be quoted as reason #390502 why it’s great to live in London. The Proms are reason #390501. I’m rapidly getting addicted to classical music concerts; it’s going to be an expensive winter.
We’re going to see Rossini’s William* Tell at the Royal Albert Hall tonight. The conductor is Antonio Pappano. And because this is part of the BBC Proms - “the world’s greatest classical music festival” - a ticket will only cost £5.
Whenever I get fed up with living in London, I should remind myself of the glory of such important British cultural institutions as the BBC, which treat art, entertainment and information in such respectful, democratic ways: we’re totally spoilt here, it really doesn’t get better than this.
If you don’t live in London you can listen to all Prom concerts live on BBC Radio3.
*should this be Guillaume (the opera’s in French)? Wilhelm (the guy was Swiss, and the libretto was adapted from the Schiller play)? Guglielmo (Rossini’s Italian)?
Minimalism, electronic fusion, and early English choral music don’t generally sit together comfortably within the same sentence, still less on the same classical disc. That fact alone makes Seeing Is Believing worth a listen, aside from these superb performances.
Twenty-nine-year-old American composer Nico Muhly has an extraordinary CV for his age. Achievements include works being premiered by the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, a collaboration with Björk, and composing the film score for The Reader. If all this weren’t enough, shortly after this review is posted English National Opera will perform the British première of his first opera, Two Boys, with its thoroughly modern storyline about the darker side of the internet. In other words, think Muhly, think youthful no-rules classical, full of cross-genre inventiveness, and indeed that’s exactly what you get with Seeing Is Believing.
Seeing Is Believing references the ancient practise of observing and mapping the sky. His third album for Decca Classics, it punctuates four of Muhly’s original compositions with three of his orchestral arrangements, of motets by Byrd and Gibbons. Miserere Mei is particularly fascinating for the fact in which initially it appears to be a literal orchestration job, thanks to the way he has carefully conserved the original vocal part-writing. However, upon the opening of the “Zion is wasted” section, everything changes. Carefully placed little modern twists appear in the shape of registral extremes in the piano and gamelan gongs, which surprise, delight, and thoroughly update the originals whilst maintaining all their sense of antiquity and sacred dignity. It’s genius. They’re mesmerising complements to his original compositions, which are edgy, sometimes delicate, vital works, heavy with the influence of the great American minimalists but also drawing from modern electronic idioms. The title-track, a concerto for electric violin, is a case in point, played with brilliance by Thomas Gould. Equally brilliant are the Aurora Orchestra’s performances. In the motet arrangements, their playing style is a delicious amalgam of early and contemporary playing styles, whilst the original works are presented with energy, dynamism and a sheer joy in the music.
If Muhly is a new name to you, then this beautifully performed disc is the one to get hold of. His music is clever, young, complex and multi-faceted. It’s also capable of beguiling listeners of all ages, classical ‘experts’ and newcomers alike. You can’t ask for more than that. (via)
This is awesome, check it out (click image for streaming)
London is covered by a thin veil of snow; a strong English breakfast tea, and porridge with raisins and cinnamon were had for breakfast; I’m pulling on my winter boots and heading out into the cold. Good morning tumblr. May Shostakovich be with you.
Sixteen cannon shots are written into the score of the Overture. Beginning with the plaintive Slavic Orthodox Troparion of the Holy Cross played by eight cellos and four violas, the piece moves through a mixture of pastoral and martial themes portraying the increasing distress of the Russian people at the hands of the invading French. This passage includes a Russian folk dance, At the Gate, at my Gate. At the turning point of the invasion—the Battle of Borodino—the score calls for five Russian cannon shots confronting a boastfully repetitive fragment of La Marseillaise. A descending string passage represents the subsequent retreat of the French forces, followed by victory bells and a triumphant repetition of God Preserve Thy People as Moscow burns to deny winter quarters to the French. A musical chase scene appears, out of which emerges the anthem God Save the Tsar! thundering with eleven more precisely scored shots. The overture utilizes counterpoint to reinforce the appearance of the leitmotif that represents the Russian forces throughout the song. (Read more)