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Music: Berlioz \ Mehul \ OAE \ d’Oustrac

November 18, 2010

A cracking concert from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment this evening on BBC Radio 3. Definitely worth a listen.

Don’t do want I did initially and have your amp set to “cathedral effect”. The acoustics will only sound ridiculously ramped-up. Mind you, when I realised my mistake and changed the profile I was still a little surprised at the acoustic effect on the radio mix. There was definitely a reverb on the radio I don’t remember hearing in the auditorium when I attended the performance last week.

It was a brilliant performance then too. It’s well written about and a truism as such, but the Orchestra of the Enlightenment do have an arresting energy about them which makes their playing gripping listening. If you’ve not heard them play that last sentence will sound like pretentious twaddle. It’s not intended to be. It’s the only real way to describe their effect. That and the fact that the period instrumentation – the warm twang and ever so slight hint of a rough, almost rustic edge – makes for such a gutteral experience. Maybe it’s that which makes the OAE’s playing so exciting. Maybe it was that sound which drove the radio mix.

That aside, the programme was entertaining, interesting and arresting. The Cherubini overture was exhilarating. The Mehul Symphony pleasant, engaging, occasionally dull but otherwise passable. Berlioz’s Death of Cleopatra sung by mezzo-soprano soloist Stephanie d’Oustrac was the electrifying element in the programme however both in the hall and in the radio broadcast (even if the sound of my iPhone falling to the floor did make it to the broadcast – hugely embarrassing – and it was switched off too). Definitely worth a listen to the Berlioz however – just to see whether it moves you too.

Listen to an audioboo recorded after the first half of the concert

The Mozart symphony in the second half ? Well, seeing as you’ve listen to the majority of the programme, you might as well stick around for that. You won’t be disappointed.

Listen to this audioboo recorded whilst I collected my bag from the cloakroom post-concert, including the iPhone on the floor “incident”.

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