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28.1.08

Les Journaux

Music and art news from the European press.

Hanover State Opera has mounted a rare production of Hartmann's Simplicius Simplicissimus, reviewed by Shirley Apthorp (Financial Times, January 23): "Director Frank Hilbrich reads the developing depredations literally and lets us see their effects on the traumatised Simplicius. The boy is clad in a knitted baby suit, like an undressed doll, neutered and removed from the modern-dress world of scruffy and depraved adults. Yet Hilbrich lets this Pinocchio suffer emotions at all that he sees, turning his distanced pronouncements into personal utterances of pain."

available at Amazon
J. S. Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier, Angela Hewitt, piano
(re-released September 11, 2007)
Angela Hewitt has re-released her complete recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier, accompanied by a series of concerts playing the work. Hewitt published some thoughts about her world tour in The Guardian ('The slightest cough can derail you', January 11): "I am often asked what I think about while performing. That question is, in part, unanswerable. [...] With Bach, the concentration has to be unfailing. That is a feat in itself, as it is impossible not to have extraneous thoughts assault your brain (during a concert in Brescia, the strap on my high-heeled shoe broke during the third prelude-and-fugue set, and I had the next hour before intermission to wonder what I would do when I got up from the piano). The slightest cough from the audience at the wrong moment is enough to derail you." So, people, please unwrap those cough drops (before the concert) and use them. Related: Objections (well considered) from On an Overgrown Path.

Young Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin will have a guest appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra this spring (April 10 to 12). Rian Evans assesses a recent appearance with the Birmingham Symphony (The Guardian, January 21): "It implied a struggle if not of faith then of conscience, and, while the adagio is usually seen as the composer's farewell to life, the effect was to challenge any overly simplistic perception of Bruckner's spiritual certainty. Nézet-Séguin's ability to inspire his players was evident enough - conducting without a score ensured unbroken eye-contact - and he rightly acknowledged the contribution of the CBSO's blazing brass section." Which young conductor will the National Symphony hire?

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