thu 20/02/2020

Vienna Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel, Barbican | reviews, news & interviews

Vienna Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel, Barbican

Vienna Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel, Barbican

The Rite of Spring and Bruckner's Third receive a wonderfully vulgar performance

Lorin Maazel: 'Maazel encouraged the Vienna Philharmonic to excavate an echt-Austrian wholesomeness that lies at the core of Bruckner's Third.'
Shuffling about the podium like a cha-cha-chaing Jack Lemmon, slam-dunking his first beats, kicking out his heels for second beats, épéeing the trombone entries like a toy toreador, it wasn't hard to see why Lorin Maazel gets such a regular critical roasting. During The Rite of Spring he was almost playing up the vulgarian tag. "You want vulgar? I'll give you vulgar. Take that ridiculously elongated glissando! And that totally out-of-place ritardando! And that gob-smackingly inappropriate sforzando!" That Maazel is a showman has never been in question. What is more problematic is discerning whether this actually mattered? Eyes away now if you're averse to a bit of heresy but might Stravinsky's Rite and Bruckner's Third actually not both benefit from a bit of vulgarity?

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