What a programme Sir Simon Rattle, soprano Barbara Hannigan and members of the Berliner Philharmoniker have assembled for this Late Night: naughty, sophisticated, sexy and subversive – in the spirit of Stravinsky and Weill, but also very British. William Walton’s 1923 “entertainment” Façade, on texts by his notorious friend and patroness Edith Sitwell, brought him overnight the reputation – deservedly – of an enfant terrible of modern English music.
Such an audacious combination of academic, popular, cabaret and jazz musical idioms was new to London. And performances of this high-spirited entertainment – a gem of musical humour too seldom heard in Germany – still have an astonishing power to set toes tapping, to elicit unexpected smiles and, at attempts at orientation, to twist the listener’s mind into a happily convoluted maze…
No less witty is Paul Hindemith’s roughly contemporaneous Kammermusik No. 1. Chamber musical stuffiness? Hardly! The “Roaring Twenties” invaded Berlin with a vengeance and even cast its spell on a composer like Hindemith. Rounding off this Late Night is Hans Werner Henze’s cantata Being Beauteous on a poem by Arthur Rimbaud. The scoring of the work alone is spectacular (coloratura soprano, harp, four cellos) – even more so, what Henze makes of it. What music…!
15 Dec 2012
Late Night at the Philharmonie
MEMBERS OF THE BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER
SIR SIMON RATTLE
Kammermusik (Chamber music) No. 1, op. 24 no. 1 (18 min.)
Hans Werner Henze
Being Beauteous, cantata for coloratura soprano, harp and 4 cellos (21 min.)
Barbara Hannigan Soprano
Façade for reciter and six instruments: Excerpts (33 min.)
Barbara Hannigan Speaker