Friday, 28 August 2009

Ears Today - 2009-08-27

Today began for the Ears like many others: with the audio edition of the Economist (and, what is now two weeks ago's issue). This accompanied me out of bed, to work, where despite being technically on holiday I had to go in for an interview for a promotion (seemed to go okay), and then on the bus to the Royal Mail depot to collect some goodies that the postman was unable to deliver (the goodies in question including some Jansons/Bavarian discs).

On returning home, I paid a visit to the iPlayer and had a listen to Prom 49: chamber sized forces from Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra playing first Mendelssohn's Octet and then Berg's Chamber Concerto. What with the festival it's a mad dash to catch some proms before they vanish - a week isn't long enough.

This was followed by the first of my Bavarian Jansons treats:

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Tchaikovsky's sixth symphony. Now, Jansons' studio cycle in Oslo has had rave reviews but has never grabbed me, odd given I think he had fantastic chemistry with the orchestra. This, however, is another matter altogether, a searing and white hot reading. It comes coupled with Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht.

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So good in fact, that another disc from the family had to follow straight away, featuring Sibelius's first symphony and a fine performance that every bit lives up to the version I heard them give two years ago.

Then it was off to the Usher Hall for a disappointing concert of Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Berio's Folk Songs and Mahler's fourth symphony (see review here). On the way, I had the recently purchased, via iTunes, first series of Radio Four comedy Cabin Pressure to keep me company.

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Once home, a little more of the same while I had a late supper. Then I needed to hear the Brahms Haydn Variations done properly. What better excuse to rip the cellophane wrapper from my new box set of Furtwangler recordings.

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After that it was back to the Jansons Sibelius disc for the other two works: Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Webern's Im Sommerwind.

I wanted to listen to that Tchaik six again, but really it was time for bed.

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