thu 13/08/2020

Philippe Jaroussky, Concerto Cologne, Barbican | reviews, news & interviews

Philippe Jaroussky, Concerto Cologne, Barbican

Philippe Jaroussky, Concerto Cologne, Barbican

French countertenor hits heights but J C Bach fails to impress

Philippe Jaroussky: 'Looks are not the only draw. What a voice'
Nesting gay men and posh female totty by the bucketload in the audience last night. Fill any programme with Baroque opera and that’s what you get. Why? Because the Baroque is aspirational pop. It's grounded in the same musical tricks that drive on the chart-topping hits of Kylie or Madonna: pumping ostinati, unshake-offable tunes and harmonic Häagen-Dazs - obvious harmonic loops that you can't get enough of. Though last night the hook was even simpler: a beddable boy.

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Since when did "gay men", "posh female totty" and Philippe Jaroussky's looks have anything to do with the artistic success of a concert? Since when did the fact that an artist moves with music have any relevence? (Let's write off the whole continent of Africa). Jaroussky should console himself with the fact that Heifetz was criticised for standing still - yes, I did mention them both in the same sentence. "Just close your eyes and listen" said Perlman; this reviewer should do likewise. Most of this review, pandering as it does to the writer's obvious preferences - musical and otherwise - reads as if it were written before the event. Curiously, it fails to mention Jaroussky's curtain call AT THE INTERVAL, his three encores and his remarkable generosity of spirit in signing CDs for over an hour afterwards, and the fact that those of us at the end of the queue were prepared to wait that long for the great man's generous smile and tired scribble. Curiously, it fails to mention that if any aspect of this concert were worthy of criticism it would have to be the occasionally wayward intonation of the horns and flutes, against which Jaroussky's own pitch held perfect all evening ("superb backing"??!?). The music of J C Bach may have been little known to most of us there, and for me, it was also a first chance to see Jaroussky in concert. But by golly, naff horns or not, he sold us the whole package in the most blisteringly virtuosic and emotional performance. And by the way, I enjoy Handel and Mozart too.

I have never read anything so moronic masquerading as a concert review. Tronyi-Lalic should be ashamed of himself.

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