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 Prom Review

 

Prom 18: Martinu, Mozart, Mahler, Janacek; Paul Lewis (pf), Petra Lang (mez sop), BBC SO, Andrew Davis (conductor); RAH, 29th July, 2004 (AR)

 

This reunion of Sir Andrew Davis with the BBC Symphony Orchestra offered us an imaginatively balanced and beautifully played programme. Not only is Davis a fine conductor of Mozart and Mahler but he shows a great instinct and passion for Czech music: his readings of the Martinu and Janacek works were exemplary.

 

Davis brought out the translucent textures and subterranean sensations of Martinu’s The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca. Martinu’s luminous music has all the fragility and evanescence of Piero’s images and the BBC SO played the piece with sensitivity and poetry. The opening strings had a floating, tremulous eeriness soaring upwards with accompanying shards of percussion and brass bursting with light and the woodwind casting spooky shadows. Timpanist John Chimes produced playing that was crisp and alert.

 

In the Adagio the spiky clarinets were really haunting as were the woodwind in the opening of the Pocco allegro. Here we could hear traces of Martinu’s Sixth Symphony, pulsating with threatening military rhythms, evoking a delicate darkness. I have always thought this to be one of the most beautifully haunting pieces of music and Davis conjured up the appropriate sensation of this exquisite, evocative sound world.

 

Paul Lewis gave us a refreshingly direct account of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488. Lewis held the audience spell-bound with his concentrated and sparse playing, especially in the Adagio where his subdued tone produced an aura of mourning and melancholia. Davis and the BBC SO accompanied Lewis with an appropriate intimacy and aplomb.

 

Mezzo-soprano Petra Lang - substituting for an indisposed Alice Coote - had the ideal tone for Mahler’s mournfully dark Kindertotenlieder but her problem a certain lack of projection: she did not seemingly know how to ‘work the room’, with her voice often sounding barely audible. She gave the sensation of singing inwardly and to no one, as if the hall was empty. In contrast, some very stirring clarinet playing had both powerful projection as well as intimate poignancy. Orchestrally, the closing ‘stormy weather’ passages were tamed nature with Davis holding back his forces from sounding truly threatening.

 

Davis gave a taut reading of Janacek’s Taras Bulba securing highly expressive playing from his forces. The major flaw, in this otherwise superlative performance, was the playing of the timpani line of the repeated separated thuds concluding the Prophesy and Death of Taras Bulba. Here they were played too fast, losing the sense of menacing tension. John Chimes opted to use two sticks, which may have been the reason why this happened; usually, it is played with one stick and the thuds are more separated. This was further let down by a fudged re-entry of the brass who were out of tune. However in the concluding passages, Chimes’ playing was exemplary and exhilarating, accompanied by a fully recovered and glowing brass, tubular bells and the plangent organ.

 

Alex Russell

 

Further Listening

 

Martinu: The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca (World Premier 1956); Tchaikovsky Sixth Symphony; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Raefel Kubelik: Live: Orfeo 521 99

 

Janacek: Taras Bulba, Sinfonietta, etc; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Mackerras, Decca: CD: 448552

 

Mahler: Kindertotenlieder, Kathleen Ferrier, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Bruno Walter; Mahler Fourth Symphony, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Desi Halban, Bruno Walter, Naxos: 8.110876



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.