Browsing: Romantic

Do not be put off by the cover, which shows two Victorians of different gender having a pre-Raphaelite snog. What they look like post-Raphael is left to the imagination, as is any thematic connection between Gilbert Baldry’s The Kiss and a set of Schumann pieces that evoke male friendships. Not long ago, record companies employed picture researchers and their covers bore some relevance to the music inside. These days, the images seem to be picked by a computer linked to the Amazon sales chart. Do not be put off either by the coupling of Schumann with a record newbie whose…

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It’s raining Rachmaninov concertos and I’m not sure the roof can take any more. The past couple of weeks have brought Vanessa Benelli Mosell on Decca, Marc-André Hamelin on Hyperion and now the exuberant Khatia Buniatishvili on Sony. Benelli and Hamelin both play with London orchestras, neither sounding on peak form. Khatia is seriously challenged by the Czech Philharmonic, who are in terrific shape under Paavo Järvi’s baton. Benelli’s pairing for the C minor concerto is the Corelli Variations, which she does rather well. Hamelin matches the D minor concerto with Nikolai Medtner’s long-neglected second concerto, a curiosity that falls…

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MAHLER, BEETHOVEN, MOZART AND VERDI HIGHLIGHT THE OSM SEASON WITH SUBLIME WORKS Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” opens the season on a grand scale A finale with the complete Beethoven symphonies Mozart tints the season in a series of concerts featuring bold combinations Four sacred works: Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Saint-Saëns’s Christmas Oratorio and Bach’s Magnificat The premiere of Matthew Ricketts’s Blood Line will celebrate 150 years of Confederation Nordic Festival from Mathieu to Sibelius: with Alain Lefèvre and Samian Science and fiction: a week in images and music when the OSM meets E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Express concerts:…

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In 1846, when Felix Mendelssohn conducted the commissioned premiere of his oratorio Elijah for the Birmingham Festival he presided over an orchestra of one hundred and twenty five musicians, ten soloists, and a chorus of four hundred singers. Mendelssohn was in his mid thirties. Fast-forward one hundred and seventy years, and another conductor in his mid- thirties will direct one of the most popular oratorios of the choral repertoire. On March 9, for the 45th anniversary of the St. Lawrence Choir, its Artistic Director Philippe Bourque will debut his first Elijah. “This work is intensely personal for me,” says Bourque.…

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The Barbican’s season opener last September was one of the great Requiems of my life. The London Symphony Orchestra had a spring in their step as they came on stage, the chorus had been seriously souped up by director Simon Halsey and the conductor, Gianandrea Noseda, waited at least half a minute until complete silence prevailed before he began. And silent it stayed. I have seldom sat among a more rapt London audience, not a cough in eighty minutes. Every individual in the orchestra displayed ferocious concentration. And, best of all, the quartet of soloists – Erika Grimaldi, Daniela Barcellona,…

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REVIEW: LoftOpera’s new production of Rossini’s Otello; INTERVIEWS: with maestro Sean Kelly, director John de los Santos, and soprano Cecilia Violetta López. They’ve Done It Again Scrappy, iconoclastic, resourceful, and unaffectedly hip, the LoftOpera company has been doing its own thing since 2013, demonstrating time and again – and with streetwise savvy – how an opera grows in Brooklyn. No rarefied proscenium-framed hothouse required. Just outer-borough grit, plus equal parts determination and talent. Then watch what springs up in a loft on the Gowanus Canal or a repurposed Navy Yard garage; a former brass foundry, a derelict warehouse, or a…

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This is one of those treasurable major-label releases, made with the best of intentions, in which everything turns out wrong. Mahler wrote The Song of the Earth for high tenor and alto, singing alternate movements. It can also be sung by tenor and baritone if no alto sounds right. The chief requirement is a tenor who needs to sing high and very loud – a Siegfried kind of voice that can surmount the force of full orchestra. This is as much a competition for two soloists and orchestra as a composition. Jonas Kaufmann tells us he has loved the work…

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The Ladies’ Morning Musical Club advertises a venerable history with its very name. On Feb. 5 in Pollack Hall the organization paid tribute to its 125th anniversary by asking Stewart Goodyear to recreate Glenn Gould’s Montreal debut recital of 1952. Gould is the quintessentially inimitable pianist, yet Goodyear in Orlando Gibbons’ Pavan and Galliard for the Earl of Salisbury demonstrated straightway a certain affinity with his fellow Torontonian by making the left and right hands seem so indepedent. Perhaps his eagerness to use the full sound of the Steinway was a individual trait. Oddly, Bach’s Partita No. 5 flew by…

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REVIEW:  Opera Philadelphia’s new production of Rossini’s early masterpiece, Tancredi; INTERVIEWS: with the production’s stars – mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, soprano Brenda Rae. “What a wonderful thing – to be able to go to the theater and see something like this, and have it be totally new!” says mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe of Tancredi, the early – and all too rarely revived – 1813 “heroic opera” by Gioachino Rossini, which Blythe currently headlines at Opera Philadelphia. “This piece is new!” Certainly, the crisp, glorious sound; the luxe look; and the energized performances of this exquisite new production all speak freshness and vitality.…

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Ehnes Quartet: James Ehnes & Amy Schwartz Moretti, violins; Richard O’Neill, viola; Robert deMaine, cello Franz Schubert: String Quartet No. 14 in D minor “Death and the Maiden” D810; Jean Sibelius: String Quartet in D minor, “Intimate Voices” Op. 56 Onyx 2016. 4163. 74 min 3 s. You rarely get a ­pairing of Schubert and Sibelius. The ­latter gets the ­“nationalist composer” ­treatment, often found paired with other Scandinavians like Grieg, sometimes even with a Slav or two thrown in for good measure. And Schubert? Well, you can find him wherever you find good, wholesome ­German music. This new release…

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