Sunday, 7 October 2007

Bit disappointed with Lisa Batiashvili's first mainline commercial CD. She plays marvellously, of course. But the balance in the Sibelius concerto (live) has a rather dim orchestra for most of the time, and the violinist too forward. If you adjust the balance so you can hear the start of the work, you are blown out of your seat later on! I now have 52 (!) recordings of this over-recorded work, and the shelves are just too competitive for flawed versions.
The coupling, Magnus Lindberg's much-praised concerto, just left me cold, I'm afraid. Kept looking at my watch. Ridiculous booklet treats Batiashvili like a pop star, with nine posed photos of her! Admittedly, she is pretty; but why no photo of Sibelius, who is just a little more important?

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Excellent "easy listening" CD (Naxos) entitled Opera Fantasies for Violin. Excellent, melodious, musical violinist is Livia Sohn -- quite new, to me. No great music; not even any great, extrovert playing. Just a very pleasant way to spend 66 minutes with the music of Hubay, Raff, Stravinsky, Paganini, et al. I even enjoyed the 7 minute piece by Golijov and the 16 minute piece by Stephen Prutsman.

Monday, 1 October 2007

This Saturday I was at the Théâtre de Poissy to hear Handel's Alcina. Lovely evening! Il Complesso Barocco was conducted by Alan Curtis. I love Handel! It is simply a great evening's entertainment.
Joyce Di Donato was superb. Maïté Beaumont does not have a particularly attractive voice, but she can certainly sing, and act! Karina Gauvin was excellent (as long as you close your eyes). Sonia Prina sang well. I very much liked the baritone voice of Vito Priante, and Kobie van Rensburg has a good tenor voice. A word of praise for Nils Wieboldt who played the important cello part with immense skill.
It's an attractive theatre, and of an ideal size for baroque music. Poissy isn't much of a town, however, especially if you are hungry!