Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Geniality and wit; virtuosity and passion

Sir Andras Schiff plays and conducts masterworks of Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart in this outstanding Blu-ray from C-major, filmed at the Great Hall of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation in January of 2015. His boundless charm is the keynote of the whole project, which is evident in this short clip:

It's almost, but not quite, too cute sometimes. I love the way he leans back after finishing a run to the top of the keyboard in the Beethoven Concerto, and gives a cue over his shoulder to the concert-master. I love the way he mimics playing a wind instrument to get the perfect sound from his flutes and oboes. But underneath the geniality and wit is an astounding virtuosity, a complete grasp of the underlying meaning of this music, and an ability to communicate with the hand-picked instrumentalists of the Cappella Andrea Barca, virtuosi themselves, as perfectly as he communicates with the audience. There's still a big chunk of the year to go, but I know now that this video will end up close to the top of my Top 10 recordings of 2016.

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