Magazine article Gramophone

Boulez, Berg, Mozart

Magazine article Gramophone

Boulez, Berg, Mozart

Article excerpt

Daniel Barenboim and friends perform at the opening of the Boulez-Saal in Berlin, a concert hall in the round

According to reports from the opening of the Pierre Boulez-Saal in Berlin, the sound is in your lap. So, almost, are the musicians, not on a stage but in a space of designedly democratic proportions created by Frank Gehry. They play to each other as the audience eavesdrops. Arte's broadcast needs no recourse to aggressive spot-miking, and 360-degree filming takes full advantage of the new hall's technological possibilities.

Daniel Barenboim is the moving force behind the hall; he directs Boulez's fanfare-like Initiale from the upper balcony. Anna Prohaska then sings Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with a defiant, raw beauty of which Boulez himself would have approved, as he would the flaunted absence of classical technique that may send some older listeners scurrying for their Schwarzkopf. Barenboim is a discreet foil here to Prohaska and Jorg Widmann's clarinet whereas he leads the line in an old-school account of Mozart's E flat Piano Quartet: suffused with warmth no less than the following playful and suggestive account of Berg's Chamber Concerto with his son Michael as violin soloist and Karim Said the solo pianist, reviving once more the old lines of battle drawn between trends of modernism in composition and performance during the second half of the last century. …

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