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20 May 2014

It has been an extraordinarily busy time for UI, with the end of term coinciding with new opportunities and a concert schedule set to burst. Apologies for the roundup, but here are my latest reviews.

Haitink and Kavakos bring insight to Berg with the New York Philharmonic, 8 May

Boesch in Winterreise: Mad or Guilty?, 9 May

Faith, Death, and Mozart: the Pittsburgh Symphony at “Spring For Music,” 10 May

Haitink, the New York Philharmonic, and Mahler not at their best, 15 May

Staid repertoire, exhilarating playing from Jansons and BRSO, 16 May

Ending on a high: Jansons and the BRSO conclude Carnegie’s season, 18 May


Conversations, Sounds, and Oceans

8 May 2014

“Conversations” from Ensemble ACJW, 29 April

The “Philadelphia Sound” let loose on Bruckner, 2 May

The Seattle Symphony brings John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean to “Spring for Music”, 6 May

Recent pianists…

15 April 2014

Ambiguous Schubert and human Beethoven from Mitsuko Uchida, 9 April

With piano rarities, Hough examines Romanticism, 13 April

In Brahms, a welcome change from showy-but-vapid, 14 April

Recent reviews…

8 April 2014

A busker’s Platée from Les Arts Florissants in New York, 2 April

Otto Schenk’s Arabella is dusted down at the Met, 3 April

Virtuosic but puzzling recital from Buniatishvili, 7 April

Above, Buniatishvili’s better, less pounding side: Wilhelm Kempff’s transcription of the Minuet from HWV 434/4.

Quite the Bruckner 9 from Honeck and the Philharmonic, plus, Vivier’s Orion

31 March 2014

Just a few months after his one-night-only turn upstaging Anne-Sophie Mutter in Dvořák, this last-minute substitute job on behalf of a flu-stricken Gustavo Dudamel again showed Manfred Honeck to be a vastly underrated conductor. Honeck, who is a former member of the Vienna Philharmonic, a pupil of Claudio Abbado, and presently music director in Pittsburgh, has an innate ability that is simply in another league, compared to any other conductor who regularly guests here. He turns the Philharmonic into something they really ought to be anyway: the orchestra of Mahler, Mengelberg, and Walter. Can we keep him?

Read the rest of my review of Vivier’s Orion and Bruckner 9 from Honeck and the Phil here.

Paul Lewis at Zankel: Bach-Busoni, Beethoven, Liszt, and Mussorgsky

28 March 2014

I had no qualms whatsoever with the second half. It opened with a Liszt triptych that showed how truly great Lewis can be. Beethoven’s answers had been all too easy, but Liszt’s were far less clear, if there were answers to be found at all in this very late music. Schlaflos, Frage und Antwort was restless indeed, centreless and neurotic, its time breaking down through myriad pauses. Through clever pedalling there were ominous clashes to be found even in unison octaves in Unstern! Sinistre, disastro, its crashing dissonances later on rivalling late Mahler, perhaps beyond. And there was barely controlled anger in R. W.–Venezia, Liszt’s lament for his great friend, its fanfares hollow among slithering lines that recalled Tristan.

Read the rest of my review of Paul Lewis’s latest New York date at Bachtrack here.

Goerne’s Wozzeck, Part Two

11 March 2014

Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera

It has been a tale of two Wozzecks this past week in New York, a rare occurrence born of scheduling coincidence. There was a concert performance at Carnegie Hall from the Vienna State Opera and Franz Welser-Möst, and then six days later this, the opening night of a revival of Mark Lamos’ production at the Metropolitan Opera, under the steady hand of James Levine.

Two Wozzecks, but one Wozzeck. Having distinguished himself at Carnegie, both in Wozzeck and in Die schöne Müllerin with Christoph Eschenbach, Matthias Goerne generously stepped in for an indisposed Thomas Hampson, who came down with bronchitis.

A slight delay in posting this owing to travel, but read the rest of my review of the Metropolitan Opera’s Wozzeck at Bachtrack here.


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