Friday 9 March 2012

Not just Jonas Kaufmann

An evening in Birmingham in the company of the CBSO was a great midweek treat this week; the concert, featuring the tenor-of-the-moment Jonas Kaufmann, has received a fair amount of attention elsewhere, from Intermezzo, The Guardian and The Art’s Desk.  All agreed with me – wonderful singing in Mahler’s Kindertotenleider, if not the most devastating account imaginable, and considerably more fun in a selection of songs by Richard Strauss (including a breathtaking Morgen!).  Follow those links of you want to read more about Kaufmann (unfortunately, Richard Morrison’s rather sourer appraisal in The Times is hidden behind Murdoch’s paywall).

But what of the rest of the programme?  Perhaps understandably, Kaufmann’s justified celebrity means most write about him at the expense of the Britten and Debussy seascapes that framed his handsome chops.  Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes (plus the Passacaglia, cleverly inserted before the final interlude) were perhaps a little tentative at times, but Debussy’s La Mer at the other end of the concert was the real standout.  Conductor Andris Nelsons imparts a flexibility on the music only attainable by a conductor with the total attention of their orchestra: Nelsons certainly has that.  These sea pictures were for once more Eastbourne than Med, being veiled in the English Channel’s mist and rain.  Nelsons’s conducting made its many transitions and contrasts flow seamlessly: I understand that the orchestra only had limited rehearsal time on it, but for once unfamiliarity bred excitement rather than hesitation.  The CBSO is taking this programme (plus another) on a two week European tour; watch this space for a report from me on their visit to Vienna next weekend.


Unknown said...

Hello Andrew I´m working in an advertising agency. I like this picture really much (Jonas Kaufmann and the CBSO, Vienna), could you tell me the price for the photographic rights.

Andrew Morris said...

Hi Tobias, could you email me at with more details, please? Andrew.