A Mozart Requiem with Frayed Edges and a Successful Schubert Unfinished

13/03/2015

 Mozart, Schubert: Julia Kleiter (sop), Diana Haller (mezzo), Benjamin Bruns (tenor), Michael Nagy (bass), SCO Chorus, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Philippe Herreweghe (conductor), Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 12.03.2015 (SRT)

Mozart: Kyrie in D minor
 Requiem
Schubert: Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”

Philippe Herreweghe made a big impression when he conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the 2014 Edinburgh Festival and I was glad to see him back tonight.  I love the warm quality of tone that he elicits from an orchestra, and he came up trumps with Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, full of precise and distinctive colour from each section, be it the agitated strings, the serene winds or the golden brass that seemed to anchor the whole sound.  If Herreweghe’s approach was on the fast side then at least that paid dividends in the first movement, where drama and tension were never far from the surface and there was little consolation to be had from the cellos in the second theme.  The serenity of the winds really impressed me in the Andante, however, and I especially liked the sombre tone of the chorale that they played over the march-like rhythm from the rest of the orchestra, a still centre in the midst of some fairly tumultuous action.

 Mozart’s Requiem was a more mixed success, though I’m told that rehearsal time was cut very short due to a musician being taken ill.  If there were frayed edges then they tended to come in the timing, with either orchestra or singers seeming to race ahead for much of the first few movements.  Furthermore, the choir seemed to sing at pretty much the same volume throughout, with little variety of expression and, more importantly, a reluctance properly to attack the big moments.  In this, the Confutatis was a welcome exception, with singing and pacing of proper gusto, but the Dies Irae, for example, lacked the between-the-eyeballs sense of power that it needs.  The soloists fared mostly well, albeit with some slightly stray pitching from Bruns’ tenor, but I loved the power and colour that Diana Haller and Michael Nagy brought to the lower writing.  The chorus seemed more comfortable in the earlier Kyrie (K341), which shares the Requiem’s key, as well as its dark atmosphere and brooding harmonies, and is surprisingly intense for such a youthful work.

 Simon Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 BBC Proms __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) 2018 Celebrates its Eighth Year __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Chess at the London Coliseum from 26 April for 5 Weeks __________________________________
  • NEW! The Three Choirs Festival 2018: A Preview __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Season at the Royal Opera House __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018 Cheltenham Music Festival – 30 June to 15 July __________________________________
  • NEW! Staatsoper Unter de Linden in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Bring Swan Lake to London in August __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces its 2018-19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2018-19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Booking Open for Longborough Festival Opera 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Additional Tickets Now Available for Nevill Holt Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Four-Day Celebration of Art Song in April 2018 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! A First Charity Classical Music Concert at Finchcocks on 27 May __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella in Cinemas on 15 May with Live Q&A __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! Newly Discovered Song by Alma Mahler to be Performed in Oxford and Newbury __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ANDREA CARÈ AS HE RETURNS TO COVENT GARDEN AS DON JOSÉ __________________________________
  • NEW! Rafael de Acha Introduces Some of Cincinnati’s New Musical Entrepreneurs __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month