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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Maazel At 70

From:

James Kearney <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 29 Feb 2000 17:39:07 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (51 lines)

Another perspective on the the stirring series of Maazel concerts with the
LSO at the Barbican:

   The Arts: Energy with a vengeance
   The Sunday Telegraph (United Kingdom) February 27th, 2000
   By Michael Kennedy

   Maazel and the LSO Romeo et Juliette Piano 2000 THE LSO has been
   taking time off at the Barbican from celebrating Pierre Boulez's 75th
   birthday to celebrate Lorin Maazel's 70th, both events occurring next
   month.  Neither gentleman looks or acts anything like his age.

   I heard two of Maazel's four concerts.  He is widely regarded as
   expositor rather than interpreter.  This is too unfair and generalised
   a verdict and perhaps stems from preoccupation with his baton technique
   which surely has no equal among present-day practitioners for
   unequivocal clarity.  An orchestra can be in no doubt of exactly what
   he wants.  But in music he loves and understands, he is not content
   only with faithful reproduction of the notes.

   Strauss's Symphonia domestica, for example, was given a magnificent
   performance on Tuesday in which not only the fabled virtuosity of
   the orchestration was fully realised but the expressiveness behind
   it was conveyed with poetic intensity.  This is not a score for
   faint-hearts or those with squeamish tastes.  For those of us who
   love it, faults and all, as much as he obviously does, Maazel piled
   it on with a vengeance, giving a Bernstein-like display of athleticism
   on the rostrum into the bargain.  At the other Straussian extreme,
   in the elegant pastiche of Le bourgeois gentilhomme, he was no less
   affectionate in phrasing.  He was having a party and the LSO accepted,
   with evident enjoyment, his invitation.

   A few days earlier he provided an understanding accompaniment to
   Rostropovich's increasingly wayward but no less enthralling playing
   of Dvorak's Cello Concerto.  The great cellist now inclines to
   sketchiness in some of the technically most demanding passages, but
   in his big-hearted expression and broad phrasing of the heartbreaking
   melodies he is still unsurpassed.  Maazel's relentless drive emerged
   in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 4, but this work can take it and the
   outer movements are the better for it.

   This concert also included the first performance of Maazel's own The
   Empty Pot for narrator (Jeremy Irons), treble (the assured Matthew
   Godfrey), children's choir (New London) and orchestra.  This is the
   tale of a small boy who, through honesty, is chosen as his successor
   by the Emperor of China.  It might claim a place among similar fey
   pieces if written for chamber forces instead of requiring a Mahler
   Eight array.

James Kearney
[log in to unmask]

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