Tuesday 12 June 2012

Restoring Debussy

Simon Rattle and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment stripped back the accumulated dust of decades in presenting music by Fauré, Ravel and Debussy on Sunday night:

 “They'd taken their programme of French orchestral music on a short tour around Europe, presumably settling in to their new-found sound and getting to grips with repertoire at least a hundred years outside their comfort zone. And the result? A little softness in the strings; a little more warmth in the brass; a whole lot of wobble from the oboe. Not much, in fact, and if you did know already about the instrument switch (the programme notes hardly mentioned it), you'd barely have noticed the difference.”

In fact, I was a little miffed to read that the late night repeat of the second half (part of the OAE’s attempt to lure in a younger, cooler audience) had included a chat about the older instruments used. Had they done the same at the 7pm concert, the whole thing might have felt more worthwhile. Jessica Duchen reports on the Night Shift eventYou can read my full review at Classical Source.

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