Unrelated Link: Check out the latest CROCKS Newsletter at Classical Lost and Found (CLOFO), the ongoing unusual-music-unearthing-project of my friend and former colleague Bob McQuiston.
F.Mendelssohn-B., Die Erste Walpurgisnacht,
Harnoncourt / COE
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J.Brahms, Nänie, et al.
Haitink / BRSO
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R.Schumann, The Great (in fact: all) Choral Works,
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Mendelssohn: Die Erste Walpurgisnacht Cantata, op.60
Brahms: Nänie, op.82
Schumann: Der Königssohn (The Kings’ Son), op.116
In the reverberant acoustic of the gorgeous St. Michael Jesuit church in the pedestrian zone of downtown Munich, a full orchestra will have a hard time producing anything but a mush of sound. The Bavarian State Orchestra under Kent Nagano was no exception to that on the last Sunday of this May.
It’s wonderful to hear Mendelssohn’s rarely played but more-than-amiable Walpurgisnacht cantata, even under such unconducive, ‘wet’ conditions. Rarely played, too, is Schumann’s “Der Königssohn” op.116. But here the reason for rarity may lie principally in the quality of the work; not Schumann’s best, to put it kindly. I doubt even Christian Thielmann could salvage this one, but in the Schumann year we’ll let kindness reign and hope that the recording made at the event—very closely miked, I hope—will be help the interested few make up their own mind. (Which they, unless they get EMI’s anniversary Schumann box of the choral works, were hitherto not able to do without taking recourse to vinyl.) Among these rarities, Brahms’ Nänie op.82 was just about the chestnut… and if not that, so at least a brief, sensuous beauty on beauty itself.
Among the soloists, all of who were difficult to judge, baritone Detlef Roth stood out for his natural, unstrained delivery. The young singers of the AUDI Youth Chorus Academy accompanied the orchestra, and Audi also chipped in generously to help make this charity concert a resounding (as it were) success toward financing the complete overhaul of the organ at St. Michael.