PROMS / London Philharmonic / Klaus Tennstedt - Royal Albert Hall / Radio 3
Writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson is Chief Classical Music and Opera Critic for The Independent. He wrote and presented the long-running BBC Radio 3 series Stage & Screen, in which he interviewed many of the most prominent writers and stars of musical theatre. He appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 and 4. On television, he has commentated a number of times at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He has published books on Mahler and the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and has been on Gramophone Magazine's review panel for many years. Edward presented the 2007 series of the Radio 4 music quiz Counterpoint. He has interviewed everyone from Leonard Bernstein to Liza Minelli; from Paul McCartney to Pavarotti: from Julie Andrews to Jessye Norman.
Tuesday 25 August 1992
Surprisingly, Tennstedt took very much a safe-sex option through the frenzied pantings of Venusberg - the real satisfaction here was almost entirely post-coital. No such restraint in the overture to Rienzi, as one of the world's great tunes once more vied with some of Wagner's crassest hectoring. On the whole it was an evening of prime-cuts as opposed to bleeding chunks, though quite how a conductor of Tennstedt's sensitivities could bring himself to make the unkindest cut of all from the break of dawn to Siegfried's euphoric departure down the Rhine is beyond me.
He also missed a golden opportunity to segue directly into Siegfried's Funeral March, though of course this darkly eloquent, breast-beating music is right at the heart of everything he does best. The first trumpet's sword motif shone thrillingly here, horns and Wagner tubas excelled. After that, a handsomely upholstered Meistersinger overture, and a surprise - an honorary fly-past of the Valkyries.
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
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