Saturday, March 12, 2011

More on M/M

Over at A Beast in a Jungle, John Marcher is unhappy with last night's performance of the incidental music from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Among other things he says this:
After the intermission came the the complete A Midsummer Night's Dream. Most of us know only parts of this work- the Overture and the Wedding March, and to hear the entire thing is a rarity. I, for one, now know why. It's an incredibly tedious piece. Despite the game efforts of the orchestra, especially the flutes of Tim Day and Linda Lukas, and a truly outstanding turn by Itay Tiran as the narrator, the piece is just didn't work for me in a concert setting. The music starts and then suddenly stops, as the narrator constantly interjects between passages that increasingly seems like merely repetitve snippets which grow shorter as the works gets longer. 
I don't think the incidental music is at all tedious; I've got two recordings of most or all of the incidental music (Davis, from the 70s; Mackerras rather more recently with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and I think it is delightful. Last night, though, was neither fish nor fowl: the music wasn't played all the way through without interruption, but neither did we hear it in context.

He also mentions that Masur used minimal gestures. He's right about that; Masur's upper arms barely moved, he didn't use a baton, and there was almost  no hand-waving. I'm not sure how well-known it is that Masur was seriously injured in a 1972 car accident that killed his second wife. I wonder if some of his apparent frailty and minimal gesturing is the result of those injuries.

1 comment:

John Marcher said...

But I did love the Italian - so it wasn't a complete loss.