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