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Thursday, 12 June 2014

TRAVEL: Salzburg

Salzburg is not only an agreeable town - weather permitting - it is 'allegro vibrante' dominated by its castle and surrounded by enchanting country at its best in Spring. The week before Easter 2014 will remain long in my memory. It is moreover the season for fat white asparagus - delicious!

A huge parking space hidden in the depth of its mountain, a river runs through it, a market town & a magnet for Austrian & Bavarians in loden, shorts, dirndls, all looking splendid.

This years Easter Festival is the second of the Sächsiche Staatskapelle Dresden, who took over from the Berlin Philharmonic,a  great orchestra conducted by Christian Thielemann, apprentice to Herbert von Karajan in years gone by. He is said to be the best interpreter of Richard Strauss and standards were high, but his public persona is somewhat lugubrious. The second conductor Christoph Eschenbach was also doleful - it made one nostalgic of the glamour and magnetism of Karajan. Smiley Simon Rattle (who absconded to Baden-Baden, see a future entry) Muti or Abado who charmed the audience each in his own way.

This is not the place for comprehensive musical criticism - nor am I qualified to do so - but Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen showed what this orchestra can do. The theme Songs of Seriousness and Mourning, not unsuited to Easter after all, was a little relentless and Renée Fleming despite her lovely voice is not 'Arabella' (nor was she Violetta in Traviata in Covent Garden) her good looks too robust - a whiff of vast American Cornfields pervades. 
Maestro Pollini's Mozart C-Dur KV467 was outstanding. 
Richard Strauss Lieder sung by stunning Anja Harteros, whom I had not heard before, was possibly best of all. 

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