fri 14/08/2020

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Metzmacher, Royal Albert Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Metzmacher, Royal Albert Hall

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Metzmacher, Royal Albert Hall

Hairdressing and window-dressing in hazy lesser Romantics and so-so Mahler 7

Ingo Metzmacher: hairdressing in Mahler, window-dressing in lesser RomanticsMathias Bothor
Swimming in the soup of the lesser late Romantics can be hard work. You get to admire the pretty variegated fish as you flounder, waiting to be buoyed up by a bigger idea. Then one comes along and nudges away so insistently that you nearly drown. Both extremes had to be borne in the first half of last night's Prom, with Ingo Metzmacher steering a supple course between the lazy devil of a Schreker operatic interlude and the placid blue sea of Korngold's Violin Concerto. The one interesting question that kept me afloat in viscous waters was: could he turn master oarsman and steer the superior, packed-to-bursting vessel of Mahler's Seventh Symphony?

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Felt much the same about the Mahler. Also agree with you about the Korngold violin: teeth-gritting at times! It is a shame about Korngold: all the efforts to revive his work that I've seen/heard appear to concentrate on his orchestral work which, like his Hollywood efforts, is pretty awful. But some of Korngold's chamber music is captivating, and IMHO deserves a much wider hearing. Overall, he's more suited to the Wigmore Hal than the Albert Hall.

Turns out that what the top brass played were rotary (as opposed to piston) valve trumpets a.k.a German trumpets. Quick scan of the net reveals they have a very different sound - and an ever quicker phone call to a freelance player friend reveals that they have an enormous sound, he hates playing them but there's an increasing vogue to ask for them, particularly in Mahler!

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