Prom 42: WNO / Sinaisky, Prom 43: BBC SO / Saraste, Royal Albert Hall, London *** / ***
Thursday 18 August 2005
Extraordinary refinements in scoring are common to both, but there is nothing in Iolanta to compare with Nutcracker's great transformations. As Sinaisky's orchestra demon-strated, the high drama of the great Pas de Deux between the Sugar-Plum Fairy and Prince Consort Orgeat has to be the most inspiring use of a simple descending scale in the whole of music.
Iolanta starts wonderfully, with a prelude vividly placing us at the centre of its blind heroine's enclosed world. A lachrymose cor anglais supported only by bassoons is darkly tentative, but gradually, as Iolanta's senses awaken, the fragrance of the wind writing and almost imperceptible arrival of the strings beautifully conveys her idyllic retreat. Nuccia Focile as Iolanta is that rare thing, an Italian soprano with an ear for Russian colour, and she was ably partnered by the British tenor Peter Hoare as Vaudemont.
The following night, Marc-André Dalbavie's new Piano Concerto began with a fusillade of double-octaves against slides of derision from trombones. Octaves were the stock-in-trade of the traditional romantic piano concerto. Times have changed. Now they fulfil a spacial function. Dalbavie calls it "spectralism", and it manifests itself as a time-and-space-stretching device wherein the sounds appear unconstrained by structural requirements. It's an illusion: the piece has three movements, a beginning and end. But what comes in between sounds open, pellucid and weirdly static.
Leif Ove Andsnes made much of its ruminative solos, personalising them, giving them reach like a spaced-out Ravel. The odd muted trumpet hinted at a jazz age long gone.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Taylor Swift banned from Triple J Hottest 100: Fans react to epic #Tay4Hottest100 defeat
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally