(UPDATED) Went to the newly-saved Wilton's last night to see what Alina Ibragimova (left, photo by Sussie Ahlburg) has been up to with the visionary Quay Brothers. Here's my review in The Independent - five stars, thanks very much. Taster:
Perhaps the image that lingers most strongly is that of her Bach Chaconne: the young violinist in white and gold, side-lit to cast a gigantic shadow, as if she were at once an angel of light and one of death. But with such violin playing, we could have been anywhere and still emerged wonderstruck...
Do go and see it: there are further performances tonight and tomorrow. It's extremely special. More details from the Barbican here - part of the centre's Blaze Festival.
A bit of competition tonight, though, from the Tomcat's special birthday Prom...oh, all right, it's just a coincidence, but it is indeed his birthday and it's also the 25th anniversary (honest!) of him joining the LPO. As they say, time flies when you're enjoying yourself. The LPO and Vladimir are performing an all-Hungarian programme (yes!) featuring the Kodaly Dances of Galanta, Bartok's Piano Concerto No.1 with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and the Liszt Faust Symphony. More about it here.
AND REMEMBER: YOU HAVE UNTIL 1PM TODAY TO ENTER THE JDCMB 'CHACUN A SON GOUT' COMPETITION TO WIN A JOSEPH CALLEJA CD!
Meanwhile, I feel lucky to have escaped Norrington's Mahler Nine yesterday. I've been listening online this morning in an increasing fascination of horror. At times it's barely recognisable. Not just for the lack of vibrato, either, but that is a big part of it... Look at what Gavin has to say about it at EntarteteMusik.
At least Alina's Bach sounds wonderful without vibrato. But switching off vibrato in Mahler smacks of the worst kind of musical fundamentalist fanaticism - the point at which curio becomes religion, and tradition becomes doctrine, without sense, without proof, indeed contrary to both sense and proof. Especially when we know from Leopold Mozart that as early as Bach's lifetime many players were using lashings of what we now call vibrato - Wolfgang's dad even provides exercises for practising it! Let's just recognise Sir Roger for what he really is: an interesting, eccentric, experimental maestro, sometimes inspiring, sometimes bumbling and who sometimes goes rushing in where angels fear to tread. He's a one-off. With any luck he will stay that way.