Tag Archive: Jirí Belohlávek

A Crop of Recordings XVII: Dvořák, Ravel, Lalo, and Manén…with Some Classical Favourites for Hallowe’en!

La Mère L'Oye

Every time I hear the Czech Philharmonic properly recorded I’m reminded what a glorious orchestra they are—overdue for appreciation. The ensemble recently signed a major contract with Decca and released Dvořák symphonies and concertos on CD, led by Jiří Bělohlávek. There’s also a complete Tchaikovsky project in the works from Semyon Bychkov. And now we have this beautiful take on the Slavonic Dances, captured without compromise.

Mahler: Symphony No.8 in E flat major, ‘Symphony of a Thousand’

Sacred monster. This year’s Proms season began with the Mahler Eighth, which is like having the Queen Mary tootle up the Thames for the first day of Henley. (To let us down gently, we get Die Meistersinger tomorrow night and Simon Boccanegra the night after that – no musician in London will go without a paycheck this week.) In the bad old days all of Mahler’s symphonies were accused of being freakishly outsized, but only this one, to my mind, qualifies. One longs for it to be smaller, even when the chorus is only six hundred strong, as it was last night, well short of the eight hundred or so it would take to qualify as the “Symphony of a Thousand” – to be fair, the nickname was added by an imaginative impressario. The symphony has trouble getting ashore, but worse than that, Mahler’s conception is self-defeating.

Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin, Metropolitan Opera: Hampson, Mattila, Beczala

Ekaterina Semenchuk as Olga and Piotr Beczala as Lenski in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin." Photo Beatriz Schiller/Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera, January 30, 2009 The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Jirí Belohlávek conductor Eugene Onegin – Thomas Hampson Tatiana – Karita Mattila Lensky – Piotr Beczala Olga – Ekaterina Semenchuk Prince Gremin – Sergei Aleksashkin Larina – Wendy White Filippyevna –…
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