CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD (1941-2014)

Conductor, Musicologist, Keyboard player

Britten Sinfonia Anniversaries Tour

November 2, 2009

 
 

brittensinfonia.jpgChristopher conducted two concerts with a programme of pieces by each of the year's five major anniversary composers: Purcell, Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Martinů. Reviews appeared in The Sunday Times and Seen and Heard International.

"At Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Britten Sinfonia, playing a work by each of the year’s five main anniversary composers, was conducted by Christopher Hogwood, hardly a young thing, though still youthful-seeming, and indelibly associated, for me at least, with that marvellous educational programme he presented on Radio 3 throughout the 1970s, The Young Idea. When he spoke about the items — telling us that they were not thematically linked, but offered a journey through period interpretation from the baroque style of Purcell and Handel to the classicism of Haydn, Mendelssohn’s romanticism and the 20th-century neoclassicism of Martinu — well, it was just like another thought-provoking episode of The Young Idea. This was Hogwood's first appearance with [The Britten Sinfonia], and the relationship is clearly productive. The six bright minutes of Purcell's Fairy Queen overture, followed by Handel's Concerto Grosso in F, Op 3, No 4, encapsulated his gifts as a baroque specialist, and valveless brass and olden timpani were retained not only for Haydn's Symphony No 70, but also for Mendelssohn's Fair Melusina Overture, giving the latter a surprising and fabulous crackling edge. For Martinu's Sinfonia Concertante, using four soloists from the orchestra, Handel's harpsichord continuo was replaced by a grand piano, and the music bristled with life." (Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, November 1)

 

"Major to minor key shifts and tricky fugal themes fill [Haydn's Symphony No. 70], giving the Britten Sinfonia the chance to show what a versatile and talented group of players they are. The delicate unpeeling of the second movement’s complex canonic structure was particularly impressive." (John-Pierre Joyce, Seen and Heard International)

 
 

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