DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Mariss Jansons, We Miss you

By Norman Lebrecht on May 13, 2022

Mariss Jansons (Photo courtesy of BR Klassik)
Mariss Jansons (Photo courtesy of BR Klassik)

Pärt, Poulenc, Stravinsky (BR Klassik)

★★★★☆

🎧  Spotify | Apple Music

Just how much we miss Mariss Jansons is manifest in this Munich concert of three sacred works. Jansons, who died in November 2019, aged 76, was not principally noted for religiosity or choral masterpieces, but his shaping of this triptych is so masterful that one can hardly imagine them presented with greater coherence or sincerity.

Arvo Pärt’s Berlin Mass, composed in 1990 for the city’s reunification, is a five-part setting of the Roman Catholic service in an idiom that is, at once, respectful of traditional sonority and, at the same time, pushing gently to a minimal modernism that is the composer’s trademark. The choral writing has an authenticity that would not have shamed Gregorio Allegri.

Francis Poulenc wrote his Stabat Mater while mourning a friend in 1950. It is avowedly devout yet sensuous and lyrical, almost a contradiction in human impulses. I keep thinking: only Poulenc could have pulled this off. In certain recognisable ways, the oratorio acts a sketchbook for his opera, Dialogue of the Carmelites, which occupied him for the rest of the decade.

Igor Stravinsky was religious in a very Russian sense, which is to say he was obsessed more with ritual than with ethics, meaning and morality. His Symphony of Psalms is the summit of his neoclassical 1930s, composed ‘in a mood of religious and musical exuberance’. The textures, including a harp, two pianos and timpani, are almost impossible to balance for most conductors, though not for Jansons, whose interpretation is both passionate and precise, while also light and translucent (the soaring soprano is Genia Kühmeier).

This is altogether an outstanding record of the conductor’s art, in music that does not consistently justify such commitment. Jansons was one of the greats. Happily, Bavarian Radio have more of his big nights coming out of their archives.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, subscribe to Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | Ivo Pogorelich Offers A Recital To Remember

By Arthur Kaptainis on April 25, 2022

More than 40 years after his Toronto debut, Croatian pianist Ivo Pogorelich remains one of a kind.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

LEBRECHT LISTENS | An Indispensable 4th Symphony For Mahler Connoisseurs

By Norman Lebrecht on April 22, 2022

This recording is the first, and a positive start, in a planned Mahler cycle by the Czech Philharmonic.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

LEBRECHT LISTENS | New Gorecki Album Sheds Light On His Inner World

By Norman Lebrecht on May 20, 2022

Meet the inner Gorecki; he’s really worth knowing.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.