Saturday, 17 January 2015

Overwhelmed by riches - the Philharmonie de Paris and more

Overwhelmed by the riches to watch and listen to, all at once, this week.  Some have been so good you need to enjoy them more than once. 24/7 listening if possible.  Absolutely the crowning glory is the inauguration of the Philhamonie de Paris. Twenty years in the making, this is, most certainly, the biggest new venture on the European arts scene in decades, eclipsing even the new Mariinsky.  Even those who don't actually like music should watch: the building is spectacular, so beautiful and so innovative it's a work of art - massive multi-dimensional sculpture. The filming is surprisngly tactile: the cameras linger lovingly over different vistas and angles, as if they were exploring the body of a beloved. Utterly sensual.

The performances are excellent, the performers electrified by the glorious sense of occasion and place.  The grand opening gala overran live but it was worth watching anyway: this was a historic moment, particularly in the wake of last week's murders and the bigotry that's surfaced since.  Paavo Järvi, sometimes uneven, led the Orchestre de Paris in a truly great rendition of a patriotic (but artistic) programme of Dutilleux, Ravel and Fauré.  William Christie, in the third concert,  positively glowed with happiness. He's looking old and frail, so any opportunity to see him should be treasured.  Les Arts Florissants did a familiar programme well, but my eyes were riveted on Christie, who was clearly enjoying the moment, the fulfilment of the dreams of a lifetime.  Les Art Florissants now have a glorious, permanent home in Paris itself, much higher profile than their former base at the Théâtre de Caen.  Les Arts Flo are more than an orchestra, they've helped transform the status of French baroque.

Last night I watched Tito Ceccherini conducting Ensemble Intercontemporain. Wonderful performance, even by the high standards of this orchestra, founded in 1976 by Pierre Boulez. Their home, the Cité de la Musique,  has been renamed Philharmonie II, integrating contemporary music and IRCAM in the mainstream, as it should be, for it's one of France's great contributions to European culture. Excellent programme, with great classics like Varèse Intégrales, Ligeti Concerto for piano and orchestra, and Magnus Lindberg's Related Rocks.  Throughout history, innovation has been resisted, but without renewal, there's no life. Boulez, incidentally, collects Paul Klee.

On now, Carl Orff Carmina Burana, which I'll watch later, and tonight, Laurence Equilbey conducts Max Bruch Die Loreley a rarity recently revived, which I've written about HERE (Max Bruch Die Loreley - non-Wagnerian Wagner 

On Sunday, clash of the Titans !  

 Boulez's Birthday Bash in Baden Baden, where he began conducting in 1957 on the recommendation of Hans Rosbaud. 

 Live streaming from the Wiener Staatsoper of Wagner Tristan und Isolde, the old McVicar production . 

The Jerusalem Quartet live from the Wigmore Hall on BBC Radio 3

A new opera by Régis Campo on BR Klassik

Plus a documentary  on the making of the  Philharmonie de Paris, and still have to catch up on Don Giovanni from La Monnaie, the Second Gala of the Phiharmonie de Paris (Lang Lang), photographed above by Beaucardet, and La Clemenza de Tito Plus, CDs, DVDs, books etc etc

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