I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Birmingham in Paris

Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto #1 in D minor, Op. 15
Igor Stravinsky: Petrushka (version of 1947)

Richard Strauss: Don Juan, Op 20
Johannes Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
Sergei Prokofieff: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64bis & ter (fragments)

Hélène Grimaud, piano
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons
Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 15-16 March 2014

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and their Music Director Andris Nelsons took up residence for a weekend at the Paris Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Joined by pianist Hélène Grimaud and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, their two concerts focused on Johannes Brahms (his first Piano Concerto and his Violin Concerto) but also offered some magnificent 20th-century ballet music from Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofieff.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Swan Lake in Bergen, Norway

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake, Op. 20, Complete Ballet
James Ehnes, violin
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
Chandos SACD CHSA5124(2) 81:17 & 73:24

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

Once upon a time, ballet music used to be the territory of specialists. Musicians groomed in the theatre or with a special flair for drama gave ample proof that ballet scores didn’t have to remain limited to stage performances. Conductors like Ernest Ansermet, Pierre Monteux, Anatole Fistoulari, Antal Dorati, Evgeny Svetlanov, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, among others, brought elegant and vivid accounts of the great ballet scores by Tchaikovsky, Delibes, Prokofiev and Stravinsky which have stood the test of time. The appeal of these recordings didn’t stem from this often supposed suitability as dance accompaniment. Rather it was a profound understanding of the mechanics of these particular scores, reviving the particular spirit of each ballet on disc just like any seasoned opera conductor naturally would do, which secured them a place among the great orchestral works. Nowadays, however, when several ballet scores have been widely accepted as “serious” music, everybody seems ready to take a swing at them. And the results are variable.
Read the full review on Classical Net