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5 years ago @ http://www.classicalso... - BBC Symphony Orchestra... · 1 reply · +1 points

Of course you are quite right that the music is important, but so were the aural images - the obsessive whistles and so forth.

I'm not sure the piece was actually very well done. The baritone was far too gentlemanly and public school, singing with inappropriate, bright-eyed dewy innocence and pristine diction.

Personally I have heard more than enough this year of the war poets, at least the ones now considered "pukka", and to hear a text based on real-life squaddie experience (as opposed to officers' musings) made a pleasant change.

We need to hear (as we did here) about the humdrum, quotidian elements of life at the front - how common soldiers stopped themselves going crazy - rather than be subjected to yet another helping of sensitive, middle-class, poetic self-righteousness. Britten and Owen have given us quite enough of that!

5 years ago @ http://www.classicalso... - BBC Symphony Orchestra... · 3 replies · +3 points

I've just listened to Pt 1 of the concert. 'November Woods' was indeed extremely well played, one of the best live performances I've heard (Brabbins knows how to make Bax sound like Bax, not anything else - something he learnt from Handley, I suspect). It should be heard far, far, far more often, I agree.

'Last Man Standing' is fresh, bold and vivid, clearly a music-theatre piece - so we're missing something if we simply judge it as music. In an age which whines about new music being uncommunicative, it's good to find a composer who is concerned to make sure she's direct and clear. The style reminded me more of Del Tredici's monstrous collages than 'The Wound Dresser'. I enjoyed it in those terms (much more actually than the Malcolm Arnold pieces of which it sometimes reminded me).

5 years ago @ http://www.classicalso... - BBC Symphony Orchestra... · 5 replies · +4 points

Hmm. Not all of us view the War Requiem as a titanic masterpiece. Not for nothing has the ENO production of it been called (in some quarters) 'Oh What a Lovely Bore'. But never mind all that.

We should welcome new pieces and listen to them with gracious modesty, rather than condemning them out of hand at first hearing. Mr Anderson has the right to mention this new piece in the same breath as anything he feels might help readers to understand its context. I will now make a point of giving it a fair hearing. If musical life consisted of nothing but masterpieces, how dull life would be.