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Leise Rieselt der Kunstschnee: Latest @ Wiener Zeitung

Wiener Zeitung

"Eugen Onegin": Leise rieselt der Kunstschnee

Tschaikowskis Klassiker ist an die Staatsoper zurückgekehrt.

Wasserstandsmeldung von der 51. Aufführung des derzeitigen "Eugen Onegin" an der Staatsoper. Im inzwischen zehnten Jahr hat man sich an die "hässlichen Bilder von Falk Richter" (Daniel Wagner) gewöhnt: Pittoresk und leise dauer-rieselt der zentnerweise angekarrte, Jahreszeiten-ignorierende Kunstschnee. Kaltblau-hübsch schimmern die Eisgebilde à la Eispalast in "James Bond - Stirb an einem anderen Tag". Und alle Mannen und Damen im (recht ordentlichen) Chor frieren einfach ein, wenn dem Regisseur nichts Besseres einfällt. Das ist praktisch, aber ein wenig einfallslos, um nicht zu sagen faul. Die unmotivierten Salti und das gekünstelte Party-Gehabe der Ballett-Statisterie ebenso, dito das Klischee Russland ist gleich Winter....
Danach Spaßverderber Peter Ablinger mit "4 WEISS" für großes Streichorchester und weißes Rauschen... [weiterlesen]


Dip Your Ears, No. 258 (Bernd Klug's CD From Hell)

available at Amazon
Bernd Klug, cold commodities
Bernd Klug (electronics, editing)

At the recent opening of the 2019 “Wien Modern” month-long contemporary music shenanigans, I sat through a piece that piped ear-splitting white noise into the hall behind which an orchestra, virtually unheard, went through the motions. It was an arrogant joke but at least it was something of a (juvenile) statement in the context of a live performance. Before me is a disc that hasn’t even got that excuse. “A male black wearing white, red and black stripes” (written for a noble cause, as you can gather) sounds like someone recorded a tool shop being operated by drunkards. Add microphone feedback and police radio transmission into the mix and you have the opening bullshit piece of Bernhard Klug’s “cold commodities”. In fact, this and all that follows are, to quote from the composer’s notes, “sonifications of a satellite dish, [a] recording device’s CPU [this would explain why I thought my computer had crashed, after putting the CD in],[a] wireless router […] and a cupreous donkey.” Enjoy!

It’s just – literally – an assemblage of noise. Put this into a museum’s art installation on some pretentious topic, and it might have found its niche. On CD, posturing as “music”, it’s got no place. Life is too short for being taken for a fool by experimental narcissists. The whole thing gives contemporary music a bad name. Shame. And yes, sure, “What Is This Thing Called Jazz” briefly sounds like a jazz bassist improvising for a minute out of 54. But you could also get those sounds simply by listening to a jazz bassist improvising on an album of, say, jazz. Unbelievable that this sort of thing still flies in 2019 (or 2013, the year of the recording) and even more unfathomable that anyone should listen to this for any sort of enjoyment. Unless I underestimate the masochist market.



On ClassicsToday: Enjott Schneider's Good, Bad, and Ugly

Enjott Schneider’s Latest: Cribbed Beethoven; Darling Schneider

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

There’s nothing wrong with modern composers leaning on past composers for their inspiration. Except when it is. Falling on the good side you have Zender’s Winterreise, Berio’s Rendering, or Udo Zimmermann’s Cello Concerto. Less successful, to put it generously, are Bernhard Lang’s removing any complexity from Parsifal but keeping the runtime with ParZeFool, Peter Gregson regurgitating Bach Suites, or Wolfgang Mitterer sampling Beethoven’s nine symphonies down to 60 ADD-inspired minutes. (See Classicstoday Insider archives for reviews of the Lang and Gregson.) The two opening pieces on Enjott Schneider’s latest disc on Wergo, I am afraid... [continue reading on ClassicsToday]


On ClassicsToday: The Cleveland Orchestra's Rusalka from 2008 Salzburg

The Cleveland Rusalka That Made Salzburg Gasp

by Jens F. Laurson
When the Cleveland Orchestra performed Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Salzburg Festival in 2008, the reception was rapturous. “That’s how an orchestra should play opera!” was the consensus, formed as it was coincidentally during a year in which the Vienna Philharmonic delivered particularly sloppy performances. (Since... Continue Reading

Ionarts review of the 2008 live performance here.


On ClassicsToday: The Bavarian Radio Chorus' Frustrating Bach

Oddly Frustrating Motets From Bavarian Radio Chorus

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

If this recording, with the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Howard Arman in charge, had come out half a century ago, it would have shot to the top of the list of Bach’s motet recordings. As a performance of a then normal-sized choir at unheard-of tempos with never-bettered accuracy, it would have turned heads. But as a contemporary release—and coming from one of the world’s best professional choirs at that—it’s an unmitigated disaster. Yes, if you listen in a certain way, focusing on this or that detail, you may come away with... [continue reading on ClassicsToday]


On ClassicsToday: The Bavarian Radio Choir's Ideal Entry to Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt: Live

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

Artistic Quality: ?

Sound Quality: ?

BR Klassik collected performances of its Bavarian Radio Chorus and the Munich Radio Orchestra (the little sister of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) from between 2000 and 2011 and has turned them into an attractive sampler of the Estonian composer’s nouveau-sacred choral music, plus two instrumental works. We get Arvo Pärt the spiritual “tintinnabuli” minimalist in the grand, powerful Cecilia, vergine romana under Ulf Schirmer. We get Pärt the archaic post-Orffian in Litany under Marcello Viotti aided by the Hilliard Ensemble in good shape in 2000... [continue reading]


Ionarts-at-Large from Vienna: Thielemann Conducts the Vienna Phil in Bruckner's 8th (ClassicsToday)

Thielemann’s Good If Not Revelatory Bruckner From Vienna

November 4, 2019 by Jens F. Laurson
Vienna, October 5, 2019; Musikverein—When Christian Thielemann stands in front of the Vienna Philharmonic, you can be sure of one thing: The orchestra does what he wants. Famous for simply ignoring or not caring about who stands in front of them or how they are conducted, the finicky Vienna Philha...  Continue Reading


On ClassicsToday: Tanja Tetzlaff’s Bach, With An Unhelpful Helping Of Encke

Tanja Tetzlaff’s Bach, With An Unhelpful Helping Of Encke

by Jens F. Laurson
Not yet another recording of the Bach Cello Suites? It feels like everyone tall enough to hold a cello must also record them. The problem isn’t more choice, which itself is always a good thing, but recordings that bring nothing new—much less better—to the table.... Continue Reading