LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

BSO and Britten at Carnegie

From:

Marcus Maroney <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 3 Mar 2000 00:45:19 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

Last night I attended the first of two performances of Benjamin Britten's
War Requiem by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall.  Ozawa
conducted.  The choirs were the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the PALS
Children's Chorus.  Soloists were Christine Goerke, Ian Bostridge, and
Thomas Quasthoff.

The overall affect of the piece was moving as expected.  Ozawa and
the orchestra played beautifully, and the soloists ranged from adequate
(Goerke) to extraordinary (Bostridge).  The Requiem Aeternam was, somewhat
unfortunately, the high-point of the evening.  Unfortunately because there
was never a return to the hushed intensity or the eerie pianissimo in the
chorus.  Bostridge's solo ("What passing-bells....") was magnificent, and
the chamber orchestra comprised of BSO principles interacted perfectly (as
they did throughout the night).

The Dies Irae was well sung and played, but two severe problems hampered
my enjoyment of it.  Ozawa's choice of tempo was faster than any of the
three recordings I own (Britten, Hickox, Rattle) and, while this didn't
bother me in this movement, it began to take away from the 'heft' of the
whole meaning of the text in its various returns throughout the remainder
of the piece.  The brass playing in the movement was phenomenal rising from
faint to full-blown fanfares.  However, the chorus did not even come close
to matching this crescendo--in the first and second verse the men and women
sang as loudly as they did in the third, causing no dynamic contrast to be
apparent from the voices at the 'Tuba mirum'.  Quasthoff's solo ("Bugles
sang") started out shaky, the baritone not become characteristically rich
until the third stanza, which was deliverd with spine-tingling effect.
I've always loved Britten's ingenious repetition of the word 'resigned' and
the balancing repeat of 'shadow' in the next line, and Quasthoff subtlely
emphasized these seemingly hesitant reiterations.

The rest of the sequence was disappointing.  There was an absolute lack of
tension in Goerke's solo with chorus ('Liber scriptus') and Bostridge and
Quastoff didn't seem to match each other stylistically in their duet ("Out
there...").  The Recordare again brought a too-loud chorus which ruined the
effect of the timpani entrance before Quasthoff's "Be slowly lifted up"
solo.  From here to the end of the sequence, the solo singing of Bostridge
and Quasthoff was entrhalling.  Quasthoff's series of cresendos leading
into the first return of the Dies Irae were magnificent.  Unfortunately,
the return was again paced too quickly, and the singing of the chorus and
of Goerke in the Lacrimosa was not warm enough for my taste.

Bostridge's "Move him" was some of the best singing I've heard live.  The
inflection, the pacing, and his marvelous stage presence made this perhaps
the high-point of the performance, followed by an adequate yet still not
ideal choral Amen.

The Offertorium was splendidly paced.  The boys' choir in the second tier
with a chamber organ was balanced nicely, although the organists many
register changes caused some rhythmic problems, often causing the choir's
entry to sound somewhat lopsided.  "So Abram rose" is the most chilling
Owen poem in the piece, and here Quastoff and Bostridge played off of each
other and combined at the angel's appearance magically.  The repetitions
of "One by one" was articulated in sharp contrast to the boys' "Hostias",
which was floating ethereally above us.

Ozawa again pushed the tempo of the "Hosanna".  Prior to the choral entry,
Goerke's "Sanctus" solo was nicely sung--direct and articulate, much more
appropriate for her voice-type, which doesn't have the beautiful subtletly
of Heather Harper or the controlled power of Vishnevskaya.  Quastoff's
"After the blast" was touching.

The choral balance in the Agnus dei was again too loud, and, despite
beautiful singing from Bostridge, this movement lost a lot in terms of
contrast.  The "Dona nobis pacem" was delivered so perfectly from Bostridge
that one wishes the performance would have ended there.

The Libera me brought a wobbly contribution from Goerke, who seemed to
loose focus from here to the end.  The chorus too, while more ideally
balanced, began to sound less and less warm.  Bostridge again sang
magnificently, but Quasthoff's response was dull in comparison.  Bostridge
seems to have so many more colors in his voice, and this was not as
apparent elsewhere, but greatly overshadowed Quasthoff's somewhat
monochromatic delivery of "I am the enemy you killed".

"Let us sleep now" and "In paradisum" were combined nicely, but again
Ozawa pushed the tempo for some reason and didn't let everyone feel a
sense of repose in this section.  The counterpoint in the orchestra was
magnificent though, and the boys' choir sang the recapitulation of the
"Requiem aeternam" beautifully.  The ending was also well done by the
Festival choir.

It's unfortunate that the only consistent component of the evening seemd
to be Bostridge, while the others seemd to have ebbs and flows that never
really aligned to produce an incredible whole section of the piece, not
to mention a coherent overall picture.  Having heard the Festival chorus
several times over the last summer, I must say that I have yet to be
impressed by their singing--perhaps it has something to do with Oliver's
insistence on memorizing the score (Goerke followed suit).  However, the
performance was definitely worth hearing Bostridge, James Sommerville
(principal horn) and Jacques Zoon, all of whom contributed superhuman
musicality to this great piece.

Marcus Maroney
[log in to unmask]
http://www.geocitites.com/marcus.maroney

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager