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HomeTaoismBach, Haydn, Berg, Vivier | Stephen Jones: a blog

Bach, Haydn, Berg, Vivier | Stephen Jones: a blog

Hannigan Vivier
Source: evaluation.

Barbara Hannigan’s live shows with the LSO are all the time stimulating (for extra, see below Conducting: a roundup).

Their programme on the Barbican final week (notes right here) was intense proper from the beginning, with Berio’s hieratic Contrapunctus XIX, an association of the ultimate unfinished work in Bach’s Art of fugue, accomplished with an enigmatic B-A-C-H chord. Then got here Berg’s violin concerto (1935), mourning the loss of life of 18-year-old Manon Gropius, daughter of Alma Mahler—with one other homage to Bach. Having been entranced by the piece via my teenagers, I used to be glad to listen to it once more, performed by Veronika Eberle. Though this was the one piece requiring bigger forces, the way in which she blended with the orchestral sonorities mirrored the entire intimacy of the live performance, harking back to chamber music.

Image: Mark Allen, through @londonsymphony.

After what is named an “interval”, * Haydn’s Trauersinfonie, extra Sturm und Drang than sombre, was pleasant. Symphony orchestras venturing again into Early Music can sound ponderous and drab, however scaled down, within the fingers of a tasteful director, they’re completely able to bringing such works to life. Not an apparent alternative, the symphony is stuffed with the sunshine and shade highlighted in the remainder of the programme, and juxtaposing it with new works, Hannigan and the LSO reminded us of Haydn’s inventive originality. The oboes and horns shone, the strings with some nice pianissimos between bursts of manic, angular noodling (1st and 2nd violins seated antiphonall, YAY!); and the Adagio (in E main!) was radiant (I couldn’t assist imagining Haydn beating Henry Mancini to it with a minor-key variation on the Pink Panther theme).

And so to a most unique finale: Lonely youngster (1980) (see e.g. right here and right here) by the Canadian Claude Vivier (1948–83) (wiki, and right here)—yet one more composer whose sound-world was enriched by Balinese gamelan. Without understanding of his traumatic, quick life, his textual content could seem extra dreamlike and reassuring, with its “great beams of colour”, stars, magicians, luxurious palaces, and mauve monks. But Vivier’s music is “forever grasping at a place of security and eternity that is just beyond reach”, within the phrases of Jo Kirkbride’s programme notes. Hearing it stay, I felt a sure distant Arctic chill—suggesting a hyperlink with Hans Abrahamsen’s let me inform you, already a trendy traditional due to Hannigan.

Lonely youngster was first sung by Marie-Danielle Parent, for whom Vivier wrote it. Whereas Hannigan usually combines singing and conducting, right here she accompanied the evocatively singing of Aphrodite Patoulidou—right here they’re in 2019:

Coming up quickly, Hannigan with a ravishing programme of Mahler and Messiaen!!!

* At this level my keyboard was hijacked once more by a Martian ethnographer, whose notice I append right here:

Interval: an interruption within the proceedings that seems to be extensively accepted by the individuals, once they take depart of the ritual constructing to partake additional within the ingestion of mind-altering substances.

Cf. ethnomusicological approaches to Western Art Music resembling these of Christopher Small and Bruno Nettl.


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