Author Archive | Jens F. Laurson

Vienna Aroused: Mahler’s Eighth Still Does the Trick

Vienna, May 11, 2019; Vienna Konzerthaus—Even in times of inflationary Mahler performances, a Mahler Eighth is something special. It was notable from the moment you set foot into the Vienna Konzerthaus on this past Saturday afternoon. The mood was different. A little tense, a little hushed in anticipation of an “event”. The big wigs were […]

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Haefliger’s Scrupulous Bartók with the Vienna Symphony Stands Out

Vienna, April 26, 2019: Vienna Konzerthaus—Perhaps it was a way of sending belated Easter Greetings to its audience, when the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, opened its set of concerts at the Vienna Konzerthaus this week with Wagner’s Good Friday Music. That greeting was loud, more impressive than mystical or pious, with capricious […]

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Vienna Radio Orchestra In Austrian Premieres Of (Post-)Soviet Classics

Vienna, March 14, 2019; Musikverein—The Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna (ORF SO), soon to be Marin Alsop’s band, is—when it isn’t diving headlong into modernism for ideology’s sake—in charge of repertoire that’s mildly, mercifully off the beaten path. That makes it the interesting orchestra in town, because the other three orchestras don’t bother: The Vienna […]

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The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra’s Mahler Cure

Musikverein, Vienna; Saturday, March 16, 2019—There is either a glut of Mahler on the concert circuit or you can’t ever get enough Mahler. There is no middle ground. Mahler is appealing stuff on many levels, not the least that you can easily impress with the music at rather less rehearsal expense than you could with, […]

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Tearing Through Wet Cardboard: Calixto Bieito & Christian Gerhaher Take On Elijah In Vienna

Vienna, February 20, 2019—For opera that’s lightly coated by the dust of centuries, Vienna’s State Opera House is just the thing: A marvel of a musical museum with mainstay works in workmanlike productions and with – all too often – surprisingly shoddy musical contributions. Anyone looking for musical theater with a pulse in the Austrian […]

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Drums and Dances: Gothenburg Symphony’s Viennese Outing

The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (or Göteborgs Symfoniker; @GbgSymfoniker on Twitter and @goteborgssymfoniker on Instagram—our social media service; you’re welcome) has been on a two-week tour of Europe with two and a half programs and its newish, young chief conductor, Santtu-Matias Rouvali. The tour, which started in Stockholm and ends in Salzburg on March 1, is—along […]

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New Home For Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra

Amsterdam; January 15, 2019—Previously, when the musicians of “The World’s Best Orchestra”—a.k.a. Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra—wanted to practice outside the scheduled orchestral rehearsals at the actual Concertgebouw (Amsterdam’s famous shoe-box 1888 concert hall), they had to find their own place to do it; often renting space nearby. That’ll come to an end on January 19 […]

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Film and Recital: The Quatuor Ébène in Vienna

Vienna, Musikverein, October 10, 2018—Orchestras have gotten better and better over the last 100 years (the time frame we can reasonably judge). Choirs have gotten audibly better every decade, too. But perhaps nowhere has the improvement—technically and expressively—been more astounding than in the field of string quartets. In the past, the outstanding ensembles stood out […]

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World-Premiere of Johannes Maria Staud’s Die Weiden: Opera from the Echo Chamber

The Vienna State Opera, better known as one of the foremost museums of opera, staged a world premiere–the first in eight years–on Saturday, December 8. The Tyrolian Johannes Maria Staud, steadfast contributor to Wien Modern and collaborator with the Klangforum Wien, had been asked to write the work and turned to German poet and essayist […]

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Bamberg Symphony Opens Season With Panache

On paper, the season-opening concert of the Bamberg Symphony on September 28 was a winner unheard and unseen, before it ever took place: György Ligeti’s Atmosphères, Bohuslav Martinů’s First [sic!] Violin Concerto with Frank Peter Zimmermann, and a newly arranged orchestral suite from The Cunning Little Vixen as the main course. Sign me up! Indeed, […]

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