Browsing: Romantic

Last night, Opéra de Montréal presented Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, the last opera of their 2017-18 season to a full house. A production with beautiful set designs by Claude Girard, the production bets on the quality and appeal of young Canadian singers; Andalucían tenor making his company debut was the only foreign singer. Almost all the supporting roles where performed by the members of the company’s training program. What you missed All the singers did an agreeable job, including the chorus. However, Jordi was the true revelation of the show. He exhibited a charming light lyric tenor voice and…

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Bruckner: 4th symphony/7th symphony (DG) Andris Nelsons prefaces two Anton Bruckner symphonies with small bites of Wagner – the prelude to Lohengrin and Siegfried’s funeral march. This makes sense inasmuch as Bruckner worshipped the ground that Wagner trod, but the effect is vaguely disorienting, as if one were to precede Schoenberg’s orchestral variations with Mahler’s Adagietto. The Leizpig Gewandhaus Orchestra can play this stuff in their sleep and sometimes it sounds as if that’s just what they are doing. There is a lack of momentum in the fourth symphony that is close to soporific and, though the seventh comes to life with…

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Berlioz: Harold in Italy (Hyperion) The pianist Emanuel Ax remarked the other day that performance quality has risen so high in his lifetime that you hardly ever encounter a sub-standard orchestra. On the evidence of this release Bergen in Norway, the rainiest city on earth, boasts a Philharmonic that could be mistaken on a dull day for one in Berlin. Playing Berlioz, grand master of the art of orchestration, Bergen come through with maximum points in all departments and a deep coherence across the spectrum. My only quibble is why the local engineers record the orchestra at a level so…

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William Sterndale Bennett: piano concertos (Hyperion) In half a century of listening to music, I have never attended a work by the foremost English composer of the Victorian era, a man who lived and died a few streets from my London house. Bennett (1816-1875) was acclaimed in his teens as the next Mendelssohn for a D minor piano concerto that Mendelssohn himself, sitting in the audience, found promising. Two more concertos followed before the lad was twenty, the third being praised in Leipzig by no less a contender than Robert Schumann. Bennett, on the strength of these successes, became the…

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Fanny Hensel, ‘the other Mendelssohn’: Complete Songs (Champs Hill) I’m uncomfortable with the album title. Rather than being ‘the other Mendelssohn’, Fanny was the heart of the Mendelssohn family and a fine composer in her own right – despite patriarchal suppression by her father and angry resentment from her brother, Felix. Fanny, married to a Berlin artist, kept her works in a drawer until her late 30s, when she went out and got them published, to Felix’s amazement and grudging admiration. Sadly, there was little time for her to enjoy the reviews. Fanny died of a stroke at 41 and…

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Nous sommes de retour cette année avec une nouvelle édition de levée de fonds des Valentins Chantants. Offrez un cadeau original à votre douce moitié par l’entremise d’une chanson d’amour performée au téléphone par un de nos 7 chanteurs participants. Pour le prix d’un bouquet de fleurs, un de nos artistes invités contactera votre proche  et lui chantera la chanson sélectionnée au téléphone! Réservez votre Valentin Chantant dès maintenant! Trouvez toutes les informations ici: http://myscena.org/fr/valentins-chantants-2018/ We are back this year with our new edition of the Singing Valentines fundraising. Offer an original gift to your loved one through a love…

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In these diminished times, any year that yields a couple of releases that can rank with, and perhaps displace, the legends of recording history must be counted a good one. On these terms, 2017 was a pretty good vintage. There was an impressive Berlioz Requiem from Erato, a Hänssler retrieval of the last known recital of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the first in a promising Chandos series of the orchestral works of Richard Rodney Bennett and, at the opposite end of the scale, a Jonas Kaufmann assault on both tenor and mezzo parts of Das Lied von der Erde – a Sony…

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Did you catch Herbert Blomstedt and Maria João Pires with the Berlin Philharmonic on Saturday? All it took was a smartphone, a subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall and, optionally, a better-than-average pair of earbuds. I did it the old-fashioned way and do not regret the decision. Hearing one of the world’s most famous orchestras led by one of the world’s most venerable conductors in one of the world’s most illustrious concert halls added up to one of the best concert experiences imaginable. To risk another one-of qualification, the symphony on the program was one of my favorites,…

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Schubert: Trout quintet (DG) Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Daniel Trifonov (piano). Hwayoon Lee (viola), Maximilian Hornung (cello) and Roman Patkolo (bass). There are five trouts on the cover of DG’s new release and it’s clear from the photo that some are more pouty than others. Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) takes up the most space, reclining on a divan. Sitting on the bare floor is Daniel Trifonov (piano). In the dark background are Hwayoon Lee (viola), Maximilian Hornung (cello) and Roman Patkolo (bass). If this were just a ranking of record industry hierarchies it would hardly be worth a mention, but the recording…

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PARIS – Ever seen a conductor cry on stage? I mean, other than Leonard Bernstein? We can add to this exclusive list the name of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who was seen wiping his eyes discreetly on Sunday after Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a performance that marked the official conclusion of a six-city, seven-concert European tour by the Orchestre Métropolitain. There would be an encore: Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, done in the supplest tones imaginable. We must resist the temptation to deem the last thing heard as the best. But goodness, what a sound. And what an ovation from the Parisians, who packed…

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