Your clickable banner could be here: details
   
    If you cannot see an advert immediately above this line click here.


 

Editor: Marc Bridle

 

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

 

 

                    

Google

WWW MusicWeb


Search Music Web with FreeFind




Any Review or Article


 


 

Seen and Heard Concert Review

`Mostly Mozart’ at the Barbican: Mozart, Symphony no. 40; Requiem, Soloists, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, dir. Louis Langrée, 9th July 2004 (ME)

 

‘Mostly mediocre’ would, unfortunately, be a more accurate title for this concert, although neither the works nor most of the performers were responsible for this. We’re being yelled at everywhere to the effect that Mostly Mozart is ‘…a howling success’ – would that be as in Howling Wolf, howling from those few members of the audience who don’t accept wanderers into the auditorium as a natural part of the beginning of an Andante, or howling because the whole thing is supported by Classic FM? At all events, where did most of the audience come from? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for bums on seats, but I still can’t help wondering, especially when I was informed that a friend had been surrounded by drunks, snorers and (off-key) hummers.

 

We ‘kicked off’ – I suppose that’s what Classic FM would say, in one of those oily ‘I’m smiling while I speak’ voices – with the 40th, a bit of a nervous start which found the Academy in uncharacteristically reticent form. Things were bound to improve with the sublime second movement, but anyone who thought that, had obviously reckoned without the Barbican’s management, for the beginning of this miraculous music had been chosen as the perfectly OK moment to admit to the auditorium some 25 late-comers – worst of all, two of them noisily made their way to their own seats in the middle of the front row, and proceeded to argue with the people sitting on either side of them as to whose seats belonged to whom – not to mention the fact that an entire row had to be disturbed. One can’t simply berate the door staff, since as one of them said at the interval, ‘I didn’t want to let them in, but the management said I had to.’ One has to ask, who were these people? Caroline who makes the coffee? Samantha who provides various services for DeeJays? Certainly not genuine music lovers, to judge from their demeanour. One hates to harp on about this sort of thing, but in all my concert going years I have never seen a conductor so discomfited or an orchestra so put off – understandably so.

 

Nevertheless, both Louis Langrée and the Academy recovered to give a performance of great clarity and sweetness, if perhaps lacking a little in drama. The Minuet was the high point, with the Allegri not quite achieving the ideal verve although the clarinets stood out with their edge and confidence. It wasn’t a bad presentation, just a little dull where it ought to have been fiery, and a little withdrawn where it ought to have been forthright.

 

Most of the audience clearly knew the Requiem from the scene in the film of Amadeus representing the bogus composition of the work, with Salieri acting as amanuensis, and of course the Confutatis is instantly loveable as well as recognizable. The orchestra acquitted itself with some distinction here, but the problem was the usually excellent choir, Polyphony – more used, and suited, to venues such as St. John’s Smith Square, its normally incisive, dramatic sound became woolly and indistinct in the Barbican, depriving the music of some of its necessary fervour. Amongst the soloists, Lisa Milne’s Lux aeterna and Andrew Foster Williams’ Tuba mirum were notable, but I found Karen Cargill rather pale, and whilst John Mark Ainsley displayed his customary musicality, sweetness of tone and directness, his singing was not as confident as it normally is at the top of the stave.

 

The evening culminated with a splendid display of fireworks on the lakeside terrace, showing that the Barbican could really be a joyous place – perhaps it will be when the current renovations are complete, but I’m not holding my breath until some small miracles occur, namely – the whole place becoming non-smoking, the chosen designer having some idea as how to make restricted spaces appear filled with light, and of course, someone helping the management to understand that the beginning of a slow movement is not an appropriate pause during which to admit late-comers.

 

Melanie Eskenazi

 



Back to the Top     Back to the Index Page


 





   

 

 

 

MusicWeb - The International Web Site Founder: Len Mullenger [UK], Classical Editor: Rob Barnett [UK],  Regular Reviewers:   Steve Arloff [UK], Guy Aron [Australia], Tony Augarde [UK], Terry Barfoot [UK], Melinda Bargreen [USA], David J. Barker [Australia], Rob Barnett [UK], Nick Barnard [UK], Robert Beattie [UK], Dave Billinge [UK], Peter Bright [UK], Byzantion [UK], Colin Clarke [UK], Dominy Clements [Netherlands], Michael Cookson [UK], Hubert Culot [Belgium], Evan Dickerson [UK], Gavin Dixon [UK], Robert J. Farr [UK], Christopher Fifield [UK], Göran Forsling [Sweden], John France [UK], Patrick Gary [USA], Pierre Giroux [CAN], Paul C. Godfrey [UK], Michael Greenhalgh [UK], William Hedley [France], Gary Higginson [UK], Neil Horner [UK], Robert Hugill UK], David Jennings [UK], Bill Kenny [UK], William S Kreindler [USA], Ian Lace [UK], Em Marshall-Luck [UK], Oleg Ledeniov [USA]Rob Maynard [UK], David A McConnell [USA], Kirk McElhearn [France], Robert McKechnie [UK], Ralph Moore [RMo] [UK], Dan Morgan [UK], Margarida Mota-Bull [UK], Glyn Pursglove [UK], John Quinn [UK], Carla Rees [UK], Brian Reinhart [USA], Donald Satz [USA], Mark Sealey [USA], John Sheppard [UK], George Stacy, Kevin Sutton [USA], Bert Thompson [USA], Simon Thompson [UK], Zane Turner [Australia], Steve Vasta [UK], Johan van Veen [Netherlands], Raymond Walker [UK], Derek Warby [UK], Brian Wilson [UK], Jonathan Woolf [UK] Leslie Wright [USA]. A complete list of contributors can be seen here




EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Past and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

MusicWeb International thank Naxos for the no-strings use of their server to mount the website.