Many of the qualities that mark Penderecki’s best work – exquisite technique, an innate feel for rhythmic athleticism, an ear for dazzling colors and theatrical gestures, an impeccable sense of musical structure, and the affinity for emotional immediacy – are also hallmarks of Rouse’s.
An 1829 opera about Elizabeth I and her supposed lover — enlivened by underhanded threats, virtuous resistance, remorse, and an attempted poisoning — proves well worth reviving.
Doriot Anthony Dwyer was a virtuoso flutist, one who could coax brightly burnished tones out of the instrument.
Soprano Ruby Hughes’ album is fine, well played, sung, and programmed; baritone Christoph Prégardien delivers vocal works by Mahler, Alexander von Zemlinsky, and Max Reger with warmth; soprano Diana Damrau is in her glorious prime singing the songs of Strauss.
Isabelle Faust makes Arnold Schoenberg’s thorny Violin Concerto sing; Mariss Jansons lends heft to Saint-Saëns’ Symphony no. 3, and John Wilson continues to be your go-to conductor for Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin’s pairing of Beethoven with Knecht is intelligent, programmatically and musically, but Thierry Fischer’s Symphony fantastique is a disappointing misfire.
The practice of re-using large chunks of an opera for a new plot and new words may sound implausible to us, but in Rossini’s hands the result is delightful and surprisingly coherent.
Lovers of American music, don’t miss Aspects of America: The Pulitzer Edition ; Lindberg’s recording of Leonard Bernstein’s first two symphonies lacks a compelling command of the musician’s singular voice; the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra tackles four pieces by Morton Gould.
Desperate times, desperate measures.
This writer heartily recommends a trip up north to hear a fascinating range of concerts featuring artists, ensembles, and repertoires of remarkable diversity.