Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder is one of the repertoire’s greatest epics—a cantata of Wagnerian scope and ambitionby Alexandra Coghlan / May 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Halle/Mark Elder—Gurre-Lieder Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 4th June Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder is one of the repertoire’s greatest epics—a cantata of Wagnerian scope and ambition, whose late Romantic lushness was all the more shocking coming from a composer already moving into the avant-garde. It gets a rare outing in the skilled hands of Mark Elder and the Halle Orchestra, above, joined by the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the London Philharmonic Choir. Tenor Brandon Jovanovich and soprano Emily Magee are ill-fated lovers Waldemar and Tove, with Mezzo Alice Coote as the Wood Dove. Aldeburgh Festival Venues around Suffolk, 9th to 25th June There’s more to Aldeburgh than Britten. Highlights this year include recitals by star pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Piotr Anderszewski (playing dance-inspired music by Bach and Schubert, and works by Chopin and Janácek, respectively), a residency by Belgian early music ensemble Vox Luminis, including a performance of Purcell’s King Arthur, and an installation by sound-artist Bill Fontana. There is also the premiere of a Requiem by Olga Neuwirth. Academy of Ancient Music: Monteverdi Vespers Barbican, London, 23rd June Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers is a mystery. What prompted the composition of such an elaborate work is uncertain, though some speculate that it was a job application for a role at St Mark’s, Venice. Whatever its original purpose, the work is one of sacred music’s most ambitious and astonishing works, embracing everything from plainchant to intricate polyphony. The Academy of Ancient Music’s performance is one of many in Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary year, but with soloists including Louise Alder and Charles Daniels and possibilities for spatial drama offered by the Barbican, it should be a good one.