Went to the Sydney Opera House last night to listen to three of Ashkenazy's favourite pieces of music. And he conducted them in great style and energy:
* Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture
* Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto
* Walton: Symphony No1
This last piece was new to ne and is quite complex, but Ashkenazy very structured and limpid direction make it almost obvious to understand and certainly fascinating to listen too. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra is very energetic at most times, but the musicians seemed particularly inspired and gave us a mind blowing performance.
The program advertised a new box set from Decca and decided today to order it for my upcoming birthday.
Given the fact that I still have to listen to a few records from my previous Decca purchase, it will certainly give months of listening pleasure! Feel free to send me your own musical gifts - you can find shipping details on my "contact us' page. Many thanks in advance for your generous support!
Well, it just happens that I never had a chance to listen to Stravinsky's music live, until last Wednesday, that is...
Part of their series " Meet the Music", that has been running in various forms since 1947 (!), this concert was a tribute to Stravinsky's visit to the SOH in 1961.
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra played his Violin Concerto, another first for me, and the Firebird Suite.
I was 7 rows from the stage and more or less bang pang in the middle of the row - perfect!
Only comment is that being so close and levelled with the stage, you can't see the players at the back - winds and percussions are out of sight, but certainly there, specially in a piece like the Firebird!
The German conductor, Matthias Pintscher, did a great job at articulating the various instrument types and still retaining the poetry of the music. He was joined by Isabelle Faust, also German, but living in Paris -smart lady - for the Violin Concerto, a very difficult piece for the solo violinist who plays for almost the entire length of the piece. Great tandem and a real interesting musical discovery.
It made me revisit my Stravinsky record collection, which includes my recently acquired Anton Dorati as part of the Decca Sound boxset, but also another recording of the Rite of Spring on Decca, with Erich Leinsdorf with the London Phil. I really enjoyed that recording - I recently bought it in LA, and it was only the second time I had listened to it. Great recording, great interpretation too, much better than the Dorati I believe.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.