Author Archive | Jens F. Laurson

Argerich Bewitches With Prokofiev In Vienna

Vienna, Konzerthaus; March 2, 2020—Martha Argerich is one of the very few classical music superstars that please both the hard-nosed aficionados and the broader public. She’s a Grigory Sokolov and Lang Lang rolled into one. If you don’t like Argerich, you also subscribe to “Curmudgeon Monthly”. Five decades into her career she increasingly resembles Mim […]

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A Taste of Regime Change At The Bavarian State Opera

Munich, Herkulessaal; January 13, 2020—Regime change is coming to the Bavarian State Opera and its orchestra when artistic director (GMD) Kirill Petrenko and intendant Nikolaus Bachler will leave at the end of the season, to be replaced by the duo of Vladimir Jurowski (for the pit) and Serge Dorny (for the corner office overlooking Munich’s […]

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The Ammann Piano Concerto “Gran Toccata” Explored

Munich, Gasteig; January 9, 10, & 12, 2020—The Piano Concerto of Swiss composer Dieter Ammann was supposed to have been premiered at Vienna’s Konzerthaus with the Vienna Symphony. It wasn’t ready, however, and the concert last April (reviewed for ClassicsToday) featured Bartók’s Third, instead. The actual premiere had to wait for the BBC Proms, which, […]

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Notes from the Andermatt Music Festival (2) – Baa for Brahms

Andermatt Concert Hall, October 25, 2019 – The musical experience at the second concert of the inaugural Andermatt Music Autumn Festival was a gratifying one. That’s in part thanks to the concert hall. Wider than deep, because of the questionable requirement that it accommodate a 60-piece-plus orchestra, it is shorter than would be ideal for […]

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A Damaged, Moving Winterreise From Simon Keenlyside

Vienna, November 19, 2019; State Opera—It seems not so long ago that Simon Keenlyside was a young, virile singer, boldly physical, and for all his energy perhaps a touch anodyne. His Britten performances and releases like “Tales of Opera” or his 2009 Dichterliebe tell some of that tale at both ends of the spectrum. The […]

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Anima Eterna and the Contrabassoon That Could

Vienna, November 6, 2019; Konzerthaus—Vienna was in an early-music mood this November: Christophe Rousset’s Les Talens Lyrique was performing Ariodante at the State Opera; the Musikverein hosted the fast declining Concentus Musicus as well as the endearingly chaotic but often exciting Vienna Academy Orchestra; and the Konzerthaus opened its doors to Jos van Immerseel and […]

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Moo Is For Mozart: Notes From The Andermatt Music Festival, Part 1

Andermatt is not the prettiest Swiss village. Certainly not the most famous or even otherwise particularly notable in a country positively littered with gorgeous little alpine towns straight out of a kitschy re-make of Heidi. It had been an important trade post along the route connecting Milan and Zurich, Italy, and much of north-western Europe. […]

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Thielemann’s Good If Not Revelatory Bruckner From Vienna

Vienna, October 5, 2019; Musikverein—When Christian Thielemann stands in front of the Vienna Philharmonic, you can be sure of one thing: The orchestra does what he wants. Famous for simply ignoring or not caring about who stands in front of them or how they are conducted, the finicky Vienna Philharmonic likes and listens to the […]

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Rusalka Gets Wet Feet In Vienna

Vienna, September 23, 2019; Theater an der Wien—The Theater an der Wien, Vienna’s interesting opera house, put on Dvořák’s Rusalka last month, directed by Amélie Niermeyer and conducted by David Afkham. The most notable aspect about the production might well have been the set, designed by Christian Schmidt, intending to make a splash – literally […]

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All-Bartók Season-Opener With The Hungarian National Philharmonic

Budapest, September 25, 2019; Müpa—For my ongoing survey of Budapest’s orchestral scene, I picked out an all-Bartók evening with the Hungarian National Philharmonic. The National Philharmonic came to (Western) fame under its longtime director János Ferencsik and again when it was led for two decades by Zoltán Kocsis until the latter’s death in 2016. The […]

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