thu 23/11/2017

Vienna Philharmonic

Prom 74: Ax, Vienna Philharmonic, Tilson Thomas review - elegance without passion

The Vienna Philharmonic makes a beautiful sound, no question about that: the question is what to do with it. Michael Tilson Thomas has some ideas, but they are mostly low-key. He is currently touring with the orchestra, and seems to have been chosen...

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Prom 72 review: Vienna Philharmonic, Harding - uncertain Mahler Six partly redeemed by brass

Outlines of a real face had begun to emerge in Daniel Harding’s conducting personality. His youthful rise to the top initially yielded neutral concerts with the LSO and a glassy, overpraised recording of Mahler’s Tenth in the Deryck Cooke completion...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Antheil, Debussy, Hosokawa, Schmidt

 Antheil: Symphonies 4 and 5, Over the Plains BBC Philharmonic/John Storgårds (Chandos)American composer George Antheil boastfully described himself as the early 20th century’s "bad boy of music", though a few hours sent in the company of this...

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Prom 73: VPO, Bychkov

Every Proms season needs a late-romantic rarity to envelop its audience in a bewitching spider-web of sound. This year’s candidate was of more than passing interest, the incandescent Second Symphony of Franz Schmidt, scion of the Austrian Empire –...

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Karajan's Magic and Myth, BBC Four

There have been legendary conductors, and then there was Herbert von Karajan. He was a colossus of post-World War Two classical music, equipped with fearsome technical mastery allied to a vaguely supernatural gift for extracting exquisite sounds...

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Prom 74: Sonnleitner, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Maazel

Tradition used to decree that the last Friday Prom would be devoted to worshipping Beethoven’s Choral Symphony. Not so today. Anything deemed serious and big occupies the slot, and if Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony isn’t serious and big, what do you...

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Vienna Philharmonic, Tilson Thomas, Royal Festival Hall

When Schoenberg made his steroidal orchestration of Brahms’s G minor Piano Quartet he saw and heard what many don’t - that Brahms was more of a radical than the music world was ready to acknowledge, that he was not the conservative in the shadow of...

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Vienna Philharmonic, Rattle, Barbican Hall

Just as the most impeccably aristocratic families have the shabbiest homes, so the oldest and most prestigious orchestras frequently deliver the most scrappy performances. Trying too hard is so arriviste. King of this insouciant shabby chic are the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Beethoven, Britten, Liszt, Vaughan Williams

 Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies Vienna Philharmonic/Christian Thielemann (Sony)Another Beethoven symphony cycle, released hot on the heels of Chailly’s Leipzig set. That Decca box earned rapturous praise. I’m not sure that Christian Thielemann’...

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Vienna Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel, Barbican

Shuffling about the podium like a cha-cha-chaing Jack Lemmon, slam-dunking his first beats, kicking out his heels for second beats, épéeing the trombone entries like a toy toreador, it wasn't hard to see why Lorin Maazel gets such a regular critical...

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Prom 74: Vienna Philharmonic, Mehta

Conductor Zubin Mehta on the cover of Time in 1968

One sure (but expensive) way of luring Zubin Mehta to London is to hire the Vienna Philharmonic, too. He and the orchestra go way back to a time when the Indian-born superstar’s smouldering good looks might have suggested Bollywood as a more likely...

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Prom 73: Vienna Philharmonic, Welser-Möst

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra like to do things their way. They still show little compunction about discriminating on sexual and ethnic grounds and for over 70 years have maintained the idiosyncratic position of having no fixed principal...

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