CLASSICAL: CD REVIEWS
Sunday 08 August 1999
Supremely image-conscious, Christian Thielemann is a conductor who has plotted his career in much the same way that he plots performances: methodically, and move by move. The plan, clearly, is to claim Karajan's mantle as defender of the core German repertory. And to that end, his work has so far homed in on the serious, heavyweight Teutonic classics, with just the odd trip out to the heavyweight Teutonic fringe for things like Pfitzner's Palestrina. I wonder where Carl Orff's singalong family favourite with the tune that launched a thousand aftershave ads fits into the plan. It's a mite down-market for someone who is not a populist. But maybe that's the point. He wants to show us how he has the common touch - and how he can redeem a piece of bombastic fun like Carmina Burana into respectability. His reading here is respectable, the rough edges smoothed over and the singing refined. It's not the most exciting line on Orff you'll ever hear. But it's the most intelligent, considered and - well, yes - transforming. And nothing that would ever blot the copybook of a conductor on the rise.
PHIL JOHNSON DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM: MOMENTS FROM THIS THEATRE (Proper Records)
Stripped down to the minimal backing of Oldham's Wurlitzer electric piano and Penn's rudimentary acoustic guitar and good-old-boy vocals, these live performances from a British and Irish tour can seem disconcertingly like pub-rock karaoke. Except, of course, for the quality of the songs. As writers of deep Southern soul for everyone from the Box Tops to Aretha Franklin, Penn and Oldham might sound like they've been to rehab hell and back, but they've composed some of the most moving songs in the genre. A killing opening version of "I'm Your Puppet"; "Do Right Woman", and "The Dark End of the Street" are delivered without frills or fripperies, and the cumulative effect is quietly stunning, although whether this is because or in spite of the humble settings isn't entirely clear.
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
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Indiana Jones sequel confirmed by Lucasfilm - but will Harrison Ford return to the franchise?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
In defence of liberal democracy
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The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils