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Showing posts from April, 2019

“Beethoven and the Songs of Romanticism” Beethoven Easter Festival, Warsaw 7-19 April 2019

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[Two more reviews to come ]


Wednesday, 17 April, 7:30 pm Warsaw Philharmonic – Concert Hall Symphonic concert
Bedřich Smetana String Quartet No 1 in E minor “From My Life” (orch. by George Szell)

This is a particularly affecting work in its original quartet form and I often wonder why the Hungarian-born American conductor George Szell felt that he would like to orchestrate the work for the Cleveland Orchestra. The melodic and rhythmic excitement and distinction of the work lends itself to this approach of course. Certainly the Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Kraków under Charles Olivieri-Munroe achieved great splendour. However in the process my personal feeling is that the original intention has been transformed, not always positively, in the inflation to grander proportions.
Smetana was afflicted with tinnitus (the perception of noise or ringing in the ears - touchingly represented when the violin plays a high harmonic E towards the conclusion of the piece), a premo…