Classical Music: Replay
Strauss: Don Quixote Lalo: Cello Concerto Jacqueline du Pre (cello), New Philharmonia / Boult; Cleveland Orchestra / Barenboim
Friday 29 September 1995
This Philharmonia Don Quixote was long rumoured to have been conducted by Daniel Barenboim (with additional sessions under Klemperer) although, in the event, I was fascinated to hear the venerable Sir Adrian unfold Strauss's prolix instrumental narrative with such unerring calm. It's a rather casual affair, easy-going and clear-headed, with Du Pre's ardent Don more a voluble commentator than a centre-stage player. Only in the heart-rending death scene (vigorously applauded by Boult and his colleagues) does one sense a true merging of minds, although there's plenty to admire elsewhere, not least an eloquent "Knight's Vigil".
The Lalo performance was something of a miracle, having occurred during a period of remission; and although one should, I suppose, mention moments of suspect intonation, the reading as a whole suggests a transitionary stage in what would probably have become a remarkable interpretation.
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