thu 21/11/2019

Berlioz

Roméo et Juliette, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - surprisingly sober take on Berlioz epic

So much was fresh and exciting about Michael Tilson Thomas's years as the London Symphony Orchestra's Principal Conductor (1988-1995; I don't go as far back as his debut, the 50th anniversary of which is celebrated this season). Carved in the memory...

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Prom 72/3: Aurora Orchestra, Collon review – Berlioz not quite lost in showbiz

For a few seconds last night, the Royal Albert Hall turned into London’s biggest – and cheesiest – disco. At the end of the Ball movement in the Aurora Orchestra’s dramatised version of the Symphonie Fantastique, Berlioz’s tipsily lurching waltz...

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Prom 59: Benvenuto Cellini, Monteverdi Choir, ORR, Gardiner review - don't stop the carnival

So we never got the ultimate Proms spectacular, the four brass bands at the points of the Albert Hall compass for Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts, in the composer's 150th anniversary year. Yet Sir John Eliot Gardiner has learnt how to work the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gounod, James MacMillan, Johannes Pramsohler

 Gounod: Symphonies 1 and 2 Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos)Roger Nichols’ lucid sleeve note underlines the point that Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique singularly failed to kick off a 19th century French symphonic...

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Prom 37: The Childhood of Christ, Hallé, Pascal/ Prom 38: Bach Cantatas, Solomon's Knot reviews - holy radiance great and small

Berlioz's most intimate oratorio certainly isn't just for Christmas – but, given its scale, is it right for the Proms? Certainly in anniversary year we'd hoped for something bigger: the Requiem, turned to mush earlier this year in St Paul's...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - the beautiful and the damned

Our greatest Berlioz scholar, David Cairns, has called Le Damnation de Faust “an opera of the mind’s eye, not of the stage,” and I’ve certainly never seen a production that successfully staged its curious, episodic, actionless mixture of set piece,...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review – a brace of souped-up symphonies

It’s a fair bet that more people now know Harmonielehre as the title of the 1985 orchestral blockbuster by John Adams than the composition manual written by Schoenberg in 1922. Even the title is “typically, ironically John”, as Sir Simon Rattle...

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Berlioz Requiem, Spyres, Philharmonia Orchestra, Nelson, St Paul's Cathedral review - masses and voids

Asked to choose five or ten minutes of favourite Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death (yesterday), surely few would select anything from his giant Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts). This is a work to shock and awe, not to be loved - music...

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Hough, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - film music flows

No one worried about melting icecaps and homeless penguins when Vaughan Williams wrote his score for the film Scott of the Antarctic around 70 years ago. (They do now, as a new music theatre piece by Laura Bowler to be premiered by Manchester...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Bernstein in Paris

 Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1-5, Overtures, A Midsummer Night’s Dream London Symphony Orchestra/Sir John Eliot Gardiner (LSO Live)That Mendelssohn wrote five symphonies is widely known, though I'd wager that 99% of listeners only know 40% of them...

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L'enfance du Christ, BBCSO, Gardner, Barbican review - Berlioz's kindest wonder

Like the fountains that sprang up in the desert during the Holy Family's flight into Egypt - according to a charming episode in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew - Berlioz's new-found creativity in the 1850s flowed from a couple of bars of organ music he...

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Prom 71, DiDonato, Tamestit, ORR, Gardiner review - concert Berlioz as bracing theatre

How do you make your mark in a crucial last week after the Olympian spectaculars of Kirill Petrenko's Proms with the Berlin Philharmonic? Well, for a start, you stay true to recent principles by getting as many of your period-instrument Orchestre...

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