Adagio for StringsThursday, September 23, 2010
I must post these videos of my favorite musical piece of all time. The first video is a brilliant Leonard Slatkin performance conducting the BBC Orchestra at the Albert Hall in London shortly after 9/11. Slatkin is my favorite conductor, a spitfire who has been in trouble in recent times as he has been accused of showing up for rehearsals – and shows – unprepared. Slatkin is currently the Music Director of the DSO (Detroit Symphony Orchestra).
Slatkin was shredded by the media for his recent departure from the Metropolitan Opera’s “La Traviata” in April. Read the Star-Tribune article – it is fascinating.
It was the widely repeated assumption — influenced, he says, by a major misreading of his online diary — that he arrived in New York unprepared to conduct Verdi’s masterpiece.
“I never said that,” said Slatkin, music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO). “I was maybe even too prepared. I knew this opera inside out; I could have almost conducted from memory.”
This article in the LA Times sheds some more light on the “The Ghosts of Versailles” vs. Verdi’s “La Traviata” conundrum faced by Slatkin. I have tickets to three DSO (Detroit Symphony Orchestra) performances between now and the end of the year, so I shall be able to see for myself whether or not he is on target. In previous 2010 appearances, I have been in awe of his performance. When Slatkin is on, he is magnificent. When he is off, he can be trouble.
The second video is new to me this week: the Choir of Trinity College choral version of Agnus Dei sung to the theme of Adagio for Strings. This version of the song is so haunting, so beautiful, so spiritual. I have been playing this non-stop and can’t seem to get enough of it.