Prom 48: Friday 19th August at 10.00 p.m. (Brahms, Schumann)
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and their Associate Guest Conductor, Andrew Manze, continue the celebration of Brahms in this late night concert with a richly romantic programme with pianist Angela Hewitt.
Angela Hewitt starts the concert on solo piano with the first two of the popular Op. 117 Intermezzos by Brahms written in 1892. Inspired by a Scottish folk song the first's beautiful melody is concealed in an inner part, and the second intermezzo uses arpeggios as a texture. They are two sad lullabies and some of the last piano music Brahms wrote before he died in 1897. At the beginning of Brahms' life, in 1853 he met Robert Schumann who became his musical father figure during their short but intense friendship. Schumann's Introduction and Allegro was written in 1849 just before Brahms met the Schumanns and was premiered with Clara Schumann at the keyboard. It was later dedicated to Brahms, and Clara was to became the great love of Brahms's life. Finally we observe Brahms through the prism of an admirer - Arnold Schoenberg - who arranged his piano quartet for orchestra in 1937 and highlighted the influence that Brahms had in music travelling from Bach and Beethoven, through to the music composed in the twentieth century.
Brahms: Three intermezzos, Op. 117 - Nos. 1 & 2
Schumann: Introduction and Concert Allegro, Op. 134
Brahms, Arr. Schoenberg: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor
Angela Hewitt (piano)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Manze (conductor).
Will Angela be playing on her Fazioli piano. Concert promoters must curse pianists who insist on bringing their own pianos.
I adored the playing of both Angela and Emanuel this last weekend. However, I do wish that Emanuel had used Angela's Fazioli (or a Bosendorfer) instead of that clangy-topped thing regularly used at the Proms. The gentle sound of Fazioli (and Bosendorfer) suits most of the 19th century concerti. I apologise to Angela for a dry cough that swamped me at the start, and thank the gentleman who quickly passed me some water.
I am glad that the Schoenberg/Brahms Piano Quartet went down so well with the audience. So many people around me said they had never heard it before and were astonished and delighted. Andrew Manze is clearly a promising conductor. Once he calms down a bit all will be well: his appearance makes fellow ballerinas like Lennie B and Giandrea N look like calm old men .
I caught up with this concert on BBC4 TV tonight. I intend to listen to tonught's Fischer's Mahler One later. Sadly the recording did the BBCSSO little justice. The strings sounded miles away from the mikes.
I'm a little disappointed that you say he overconducts and throws himself around a lot. I missed this concert but it is not a good sign.
Originally Posted by Chris Newman
He was of course a very incompetent fiddle player.
INcompetent?! You are kidding, right? One of the finest baroque players I've ever heard, up there with the likes of Rachel Podger. Check out his Biber recordings.
Originally Posted by Ariosto
Manze is an amazing musician. His conducting technique may be a little raw at times. But what he brings in terms of knowledge, enthusiasm and love to a rehearsal and concert... Most conductors come nowhere near.
He's not from the Norrington school of no vibrato, either. Rather he encourages the strings to play in a more romantic, old fashioned way, sounding shifts with a hint of glissando and shifting at different times amongst the section, as opposed to a clean, unison sound. He calls it 'freedom within chains' and gives the players more chance for personal expression.
" His conducting technique may be a little raw at times.,,what he brings (etc) to a rehearsal and concert...
more chance for personal expression. "
I played for him once, maybe the very first time he 'conducted' rather than leading from the violin.
At the time, I thought his gestures could usefully have been more economical, and that using a baton would have helped him to achieve this.
Does he now in fact use a baton?
I heard the most extraordinary story the other day, just before the Gabrieli/ McCreesh 'Elijah': that some time ago several of the orchestra's principal players had asked McCreesh NOT to use a baton...:doh:
Wisely, he ignored them.
I have played for maybe a dozen 'hands only' conductors in the past 50 years or so; the only two who were competent ( more than competent!) were Stokowski and Boulez. Pretty well all the others were virtually impossible to follow, having to be frequently 'rescued' by their players and then taking the credit for 'an inspired performance'.!
Mercifully yes he does, at least what I have seen of him.
Originally Posted by waldhorn
I'm pleased that you found Stokowski and Boulez "competent". Don't overdo the praise or anything.
Originally Posted by waldhorn
Several conductors change from using a baton to not using one: Mark Elder is a recent example - seems to have given up using one. Andrew Davis usually uses one but didn't at the Elgar/Grainger/Strauss Prom this year. Both were quite clear without. Bernstein started out not using one but then changed to using one, with no perceptible change in clarity. Ferenc Fricsay was a model of clarity - without a baton.
In the last few years of his life, Charles Mackerras generally didn't use one as it caused muscular problems in his wrist/shoulders. Again, he was perfectly clear without one. Lovro von Matacic did the same thing, for the same reasons.