First seen as part of a 1912 double bill, Ariadne auf Naxos was revised and reshaped as Europe plunged into the carnage of the First World War. Strauss was profoundly relieved when his son, Franz, was declared unfit for military service. But his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, had already served as a reservist when the now familiar version of their backstage comedy on high and low art premiered in Vienna in 1916, four days after the assassination of the prime minister in the dining room of a hotel a few minutes' walk from the opera house.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
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The Damnation of Faust, Coliseum, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London<br/>The Night Shift, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Sunday 08 May 2011
Sunday 17 April 2011
Paavo Järvi's spacious, serene reading of A German Requiem is beautifully recorded.
Friday 08 April 2011
Following his brilliant interpretation of Beethoven's 9th, Järvi turns his attention to another German musical milestone, Brahms' most imposing work.
Saturday 26 March 2011
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra brought Strauss – oodles of it – for this Shell Classics International at the Royal Festival Hall; and as they signed off with one of those signature Rosenkavalier waltzes, all swooning strings and tumbling horns, there wasn’t a great deal more we could have asked of them.
Monday 21 March 2011
Ask not for whom the bell tolls. Rachmaninov didn’t: he knew. Or rather he was convinced that they all tolled for him. His splendid choral symphony The Bells is full of ominous premonition with even the “Silver Sleigh Bells” of a lost youth - scintillating with some of the composer’s most expensive orchestration - promising only oblivion.
Tuesday 22 February 2011
They’ve called this unprecedented five-day residency “The London Concerts” and having already shown off the youthful core of players at the heart of this venerable and venerated orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra duly expanded from chamber to symphonic proportions and crossed the river from the Southbank to the Barbican for what was by any standards a wondrous display of high-end artistry.
Monday 21 February 2011
Sunday 20 February 2011
Two perfect works in perfect equilibrium; Mozart and Mahler well met indeed.
Monday 31 January 2011
Elgar’s The Kingdom arrives in the heat of inspiration on a surge of orchestral magnificence. A glorious theme representing “New Faith” is announced in the strings, as noble and aspirational as anything Elgar wrote.
Monday 10 January 2011
Friday 07 January 2011
Programming Liszt is like counting calories: you can blow your entire month’s intake in less than an hour.
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