Before I forget

And just for the record, other musical items caught by me on my recent jaunt.

1. Bonn, Beethovenhalle – Pittsburgh Symphony as part of the Beethoven festival. Expensive; dutiful rather than motivated performance of Beethoven 4 by Grimaud and the orchestra; Tchaikovsky 5 was where the orchestra’s heart was.

2. Erfurt, Opernhaus, MDR half empty house despite most expensive tickets only 28 euros- Sarah Chang not quite capturing what I think of as the charm potential of the Sibelius concerto, rather better return to form in Strauss Heldenleben; wonder if almost total lack of atmosphere owing to sparse attendance explained why the orchestra not as good as I had hoped it might be.

3. Prague, Rudolfinum, Midori and Czech Philharmonic – concert highlight of tour; wonderful hall and seats, intimate encounter with Midori in Beethoven concerto and Mahler 1 from the heart of post-Hapsburg lands, played relatively straight by an orchestra absolutely at home with the tradition the symphony draws on.

4. Cologne, Oper, Prokofiev, War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden). Finally seen all these years after it last played in Sydney at the SOH opening. You can see why it was chosen (21 principals – a part for everyone) and correspondingly, why it hasn’t had a run since (big orchestra, rather schizophrenic relationship between the acts, need for big cast and spectacle[)] – here generously supplied.

5. Essen, Krupp Saal, Essen Philharmonic – not particularly persuasive performance of Strauss Don Quixote (soloists all drawn from orchestra) but rather better go at assorted Liszt which was mostly tosh (Mephisto Waltz the best; Hungaria showing part of what got up Gavril Prinzep’s nose) by relatively youthful orchestra.

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