IT’S one thing playing Baroque opera, such as that heard from Les Arts Florissants over the past few days, on period instruments. But Brahms and Bruckner?
Orchestre des Champs-Élysées
Star rating: * * * *
On the evidence of last night’s performance by the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, symphonic music from the 1880s on the instruments for which was intended is an entirely different matter.
Fulsome and muscular from the outset, the orchestra, with conductor Philippe Herreweghe, brought a whole new dimension to both composers.
In Brahms’ Gesang der Parzen, the chorus of Collegium Vocale Gent, founded by Herreweghe, wasn’t large in number, but their big sound, with perfectly clear diction, matched the brawn of the orchestra.
Well balanced between men and women, the voices were ideally suited to the increasingly chromatic harmonies of Brahms’ scoring.
Less successful was Bruckner’s Te Deum, with the volume of the orchestra tending to drown out the chorus and a quartet of soloists whose voices had trouble in blending together.
Around an hour in length, Bruckner’s Symphony No 9 is a long haul, but Herreweghe’s pacing was spot on, orchestra and audience in rapt attention as he moulded its luxuriantly romantic phrasing to a momentous and proud conclusion.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
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