Editor: Marc Bridle

 

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

 

 

                    

Google

WWW MusicWeb


Search Music Web with FreeFind




Any Review or Article


 

 

 

Seen and Heard Concert Review

 

Antonio Salieri: Arias and Overtures, Cecilia Bartoli, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra directed by Petra Müllejans. Barbican Hall, 24 September 2004 (ME)

 

"I looked on astounded as from his ordinary life he made his art. We were ordinary men, he and I. Yet he from the ordinary created legends – and I from legends created only the ordinary." Thus Salieri on Mozart, according to Peter Shaffer – and those words ‘ordinary’ and ‘legends’ just about sum up this concert: ordinary music performed by a legend. Cecilia Bartoli’s passionate advocacy of the music of Salieri is of course heart-warming from a singer who could so easily spend her life only on works of genius, and it is a testament to her power that she drew a packed house for this one – composer evening, although whoever scheduled the First Night of ENO’s ‘Trojans’ to coincide with it clearly needs to attend a course in joined-up thinking.

 

For many of us, it was the overtures which provided the real surprises of the evening: ‘Cublai, gran kan de Tartari’ was the perfect curtain-raiser to show off the virtues of this amazing orchestra and its charismatic leader who directed from the violin with real verve and style – as you heard the whizzing passages you could almost see the big fat pink clouds which no doubt would have scudded across the set, had the opera ever made it to the stage. Even more remarkable was the selection from ‘26 Variations on Les Folies d’Espagne’ described wittily in the programme notes as a sort of ‘Old Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ (Salieri wrote the piece many years after he had abandoned opera) – this is music which just touches greatness, and the FBO presented it brilliantly, especially fine performances coming from the horns and bassoons.

 

The opening aria ‘Gelosia, dispetto e sdegno’ was the perfect vehicle for Bartoli to display the flexibility of her coloratura in the tempestuous phrases, and the following ‘Eccomi più che mai... Amor, pietoso Amore’ allowed her to demonstrate the seductive quality of her tone and of course, to try to persuade us that this lovely but ultimately rather musically empty recitative and aria is worthy to stand alongside the pieces which keep coming in to your mind as you hear it, namely ‘Porgi amor’ and ‘Per Pietà’.

 

‘Vi sono sposa e amante’ was a superb collaboration between singer, flautist Karl Kaiser and oboist Ann-Kathrin Brüggemann, with each one seeming to challenge the other in virtuosity. The lovely aria from ‘Armida’ ‘Lungi da te ben mio’ provided the finest singing of the evening – for all her vocal fireworks, Bartoli is most moving in phrases such as ‘Vita di questo cor’ where the final word is inflected in such a way that it pierces the ear with its quality of emotion.

 

The fascinating ‘E voi da buon marito… Non vo’ gia che vi suonino’ shows the composer revelling in the possibilities of the voice and the orchestra: it’s difficult to imagine any other singer giving such character to the phrases describing the instruments which the heroine wants to hear at her wedding, and I’m sure Salieri would have loved it as much as the audience did. Our enthusiasm was rewarded with three wonderful encores, the last two arias by Joseph Haydn and Salieri which were brilliantly sung but paled into insignificance beside the music of true greatness which formed the first, Gluck’s ‘Di Questa Cetra,’ again the kind of aria which shows the qualities of this singer at her best – supple phrasing, liquid tone and warmly moving word pointing allied to a stage presence which seems almost to invite you to join in with her. No one could, of course, any more than we could get away with wearing that Vivienne Westwood creation in a shade of green that might best be described as ‘Go.’

 

So, does Salieri really ‘bind all the power of German music to the sweet Italian style?’ No, but neither does he deserve to have been so decisively sidelined, and this recital and the associated disc (Decca CD 475 100-2 SACD 470 631-2) must go a long way to persuade music lovers that such praise is not wholly misguided.

 

 

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.