- - -
Eroica much better though - as good a live performance as I have heard - I can understand some reservations though
“Every piece of music is a rehearsal of one’s life,” - Sir Colin Davis
Strange. Part 2 of tonight's Prom had turned up on the Radio 3 iPlayer, but not Part 1 (as yet).
Pace Ariosto's observations about intonation and ensemble, I appear to have enjoyed this 4th more than most - for the fullness and sweetness of the strings ( allied to a powerful rhythmic attack), and for a reading which was actively led - conducted - in a way that encouraged the players to musically dialogue and converse with each other throughout. Did no-one else notice the lead-back to the recap in (i), so teased-out and playful as the divided violins tossed those little figures to and fro across the platform? Then the blaze of tone at the reprise itself. Or the sweet, floating espressivo of the opening of (ii), rebuffed by the weight and attack (again) of those big repeated chords that follow; the lovely wind solos... and Barenboim made sure that the scherzo repeats weren't just repetitions, how thrillingly he steered us all back into the last one.
The Eroica, again gloriously played, was, for me, too moderately paced and massively-intoned in the first 2 movements... does that rich string sound emphasise the famous climax at the height of the 1st movement's development, or rather cushion its impact?
The experience of more "radical" conductors, from Scherchen or Leibowitz to Zinman, Bruggen or wicked old RN, has given us a new dimension of hell-for-leather heroism in this symphony (and what Richard Osborne once referred to (re.Bruggen) as "powder keg sonorities") and a rhythmic energy and buoyancy - sheer speed - which I now can't do without.
But, after a rather saturnine marcia funebre, the fullness and tonal foundation of the West-Eastern D. drove their virtuosity and brilliance through the scherzo and finale - even if DB was playing to the gallery a little as he accelerated through the coda.
I wished I could have heard Boulez' Dialogue in surround-sound! As it was, I found the ear-tweaking richness and resonance (via HDs) of both the "clarinette premiere" (as Boulez has it) and its electronic shadow very diverting indeed. Perhaps it doesn't fit well between two LVB symphonies, but if you tucked it away at a late-night Prom who's going to bother?
(The Roundhouse would be a good venue though... is it back in service yet?)
Last edited by jayne lee wilson; 22-07-12 at 03:08.