PROMS 65/66: Goerne/Mahler Jugendorchester/ Nott/Nash Ensemble/ Masson, Royal Albert Hall, London

3.00

Something seems to have happened to Matthias Goerne. This German baritone was the wild child who once shed new light on Schubert’s songs, with his raw and visceral performances. When he walked on stage, you never knew where he would take you. Mahler’s heartrending Kindertotenlieder should have been his ideal vehicle, and as he eased into the first of these songs, the brooding melancholy of his tone seemed auspicious.

But that was all we got. He let the music carry him along, rather than pushing it; his sound was unfailingly beautiful, but oddly detached. The tragedy in Ruckert’s lyrics may be understated, but it’s still almost unbearable when sung as it needs to be. Here, what should have been danger became mere Victorian sentimentality.

On the other hand, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester skilfully evoked this work’s sound-world under Jonathan Nott’s direction, with some ravishing woodwind solos. But here, too, something vital was missing: the grand gestures which preface the final section simply weren’t grand enough, with the result that the piece ended with a whimper rather than a bang. Thus it was, too, with that great warhorse, Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra: the gigantic opening fanfare now known to everyone as

the theme tune to 2001: A Space Odyssey went off at a polite half-throttle, rather than in the grandiose over-the-top manner we needed. Nott’s treatment of Ligeti’s Atmospheres and Schoenberg’s Five Orchestral Pieces was exquisitely detailed, but lacking in oomph.

The late-night Prom which followed was just one-15th full: since the |American composer George Crumb, currently celebrating his 80th birthday, has never courted publicity, he’s virtually unknown over here. But in the Seventies his music was the hottest thing among avant-garde choreographers: with vivid memories of his mysteriously Oriental sound-world as a backing for dance, I was curious to see how it would hold up, 30 years on.

The answer is, not tremendously. Under Diego Masson’s direction, the Nash Ensemble utilised all their artistry in works that included the Lorca-homage “Ancient Voices of Children”, and brought out the full subtlety of his games with timbre and texture. But I wanted the dancers back: this music felt stranded, and out of its time.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The 44-year-old insisted there had been “no fallings out” with the other members of the band
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style