Wednesday, 13 August 2008
East, West . . .
. . . home’s best. That is, if you have somewhere you can be sure of calling ‘home’ with any sense of permanency, and some members, even the youngest, of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, of course, will probably be uncertain of that for their entire lifetimes. Yes, politics rears its head again. So?
For all I now have a new respect, politically, for Daniel Barenboim after his Reith Lectures, I have seldom been happy with his conducting at the Proms in recent years. In fact, I walked out of one—and I can easily count the number of times I’ve done that on one hand—in utter dismay and real anger at what I thought was stolid, uncomprehending, and unimaginative conducting and a thoroughly banal interpretation. All the same I was quite taken at the time by last year's 'Wagnerian' Bruckner.
So, therefore, I would normally skip Proms 38 and 39 this week; the trouble is, I do like both the Schoenberg and the Stravinsky. . .and, obviously, I have some sympathy with the aims behind the foundation of the band.
However, be prepared for the reviews to appear rather late. To be honest with you, I’ve now listened to (sometimes twice) and concentrated hard on (you’ll have to take my word for that!) nearly 30 Prom concerts so far (even if I haven’t written about all of them) and I am beginning to suffer a touch of the Proms mid-season equivalent of the marathon runner’s ‘wall’.
I shall probably record the R3 repeats to listen to later, just to give me time to both catch up and get my second wind for what I hope are going to be some major, or at least extremely interesting, concerts coming up in the second half of the season. (Handel’s Belshazzar—Prom 41—looks pretty likely to me, and of course there’s Rattle’s Turangalila and Shostakovich 10 in Proms 64 and 65 not to mention several in between . . .)