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.
Arts & Ents blogs
Under The Skin review: Scarlett Johansson is full-blooded as aloof alien
Doctor Who: Keeley Hawes to star alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
Boy George: Bad karma
Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor
Led Zeppelin return with new 'unheard' song after scouring vaults for unreleased recordings
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
- 1 Tony Benn meets Ali G: Watch Labour veteran burn Sacha Baron Cohen
- 2 Women do experience two different types of orgasm, study reveals
- 3 Tony Benn dead: Veteran Labour politician passes away at 88
- 4 Malaysia flight MH370: Pitbull song lyrics bear uncanny resemblance to missing plane mystery, according to YouTubers
- 5 Gauthier Soho has ranted against 'food blaggers' - so can we really trust online reviews?