WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Live In Buenos Aires - Joanna MacGregor

Macgregor,Joanna / Britten Sinfonia
Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 684759  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachJohn DowlandEgberto GismontiOsvaldo Golijov,   ... 
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor
Conductor:  Joanna MacGregor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



LIVE IN BUENOS AIRES Joanna MacGregor, cond (pn); Britten Snf SOUND CIRCUS 68475 (67:57) Live: Buenos Aires 5/3/2007


BACH Concerto in d, BWV 1052. STRAVINSKY Concerto in D for String Orchestra. DOWLAND Forlorn Hope Fancy. Mr. Dowland’s Midnight. Can She Excuse? GISMONTI Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Forrobodó. Frevo. GOLIJOV Last Round. PIAZZOLLA Milonga del angel. Libertango


I am really starting to fall in love with Joanna MacGregor: not yet the person, as I’ve had zero contact with her, but most definitely the artist. If some of her performances do not necessarily supercede all competing versions out there (as in her Messiaen set), there are few if any that are disappointing, ill-conceived, or lacking in fervor or commitment, and it’s exactly this emotional commitment that I consider superior to a great many more famous names out there (including a certain woman pianist from Argentina whom Fanfare readers are in shock that I don’t adore). Her performance of Bach’s famed clavier concerto, for instance, doesn’t really replace the recording by Glenn Gould, but to listen to her approach—forward in momentum and almost pressing in tempo, yet never, ever mechanical or lacking in fervor—is a perfect example. And, like the Gould recording, the purists will hate it because of the use of a modern piano and strings with vibrato. Bully for them. MacGregor is so emotionally locked in, from first note to last, that I find that I can bear it.


To follow Bach with Stravinsky is either a decision of raw courage, the whim of genius, or both. The Britten Sinfonia plays it with exactly the same kind of forward momentum and biting strings as they do the Bach. MacGregor, of course, sits this one out, but it speaks volumes for how much she enjoyed this performance that she included it on the CD. Oddly enough, I find the string tone here even a bit more lush than in the Bach, but this may actually have more to do with the very reverberant sonics (which work against Stravinsky’s neoclassicism) than with the musical interpretation of the ensemble.


MacGregor’s adaptations of Dowland pieces are both original and colorful, almost Bach-like in their use of ground bass and counterpoint from the strings beneath her lean yet deeply-felt piano playing. The second piece, Mr. Dowland’s Midnight , is stunningly arranged for piano, a few violins, and a bass duo whose opening section swings in a way that immediately puts me in mind of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s performances (though I doubt if more than five readers of this journal even know what the MJQ was). Later sonorities within this piece have an eerie, late-night feel to them. The third piece, Can She Excuse , immediately puts me in mind of Britten’s own arrangements of Elizabethan music, which is not a bad thing.


The last (and shortest) of the Dowland pieces runs without a break into Egberto Gismonti’s Forrobodó, with its insistent Brazilian cross-rhythms. Frevo is an even wilder piece, and Osvaldo Golijov’s Last Round, entirely orchestral, continues the Argentinean mood. MacGregor ends her concert with two concert tangos by Astor Piazzolla and, unlike the Naxos recording by Aquiles Delle-Vigne that I disliked ( Fanfare 34:3), she fully captures the feeling of the music. Milonga del angel is lyrical and atmospheric, Libertango a riot of percussion effects. This last-named whips the audience into a near-frenzy, and the applause at the end is not only a response to the music but also to MacGregor’s spirited rendition.


This is one you’ve got to get if you enjoy interesting and eclectic concerts with no weak links in either programming or performance. I’m becoming convinced that Joanna MacGregor is a genius.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
Forlorne Hope Fancye, P 2 by John Dowland
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Notes: Arranged by Joanna MacGregor 
3.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 5, Can she excuse my wrongs? by John Dowland
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
Notes: Arranged by Joanna MacGregor  
4.
Forrobodo by Egberto Gismonti
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Variations on "Frevo" by Egberto Gismonti
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
6.
Last round by Osvaldo Golijov
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996 
7.
Milonga del Angel by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Argentina 
Notes: Arranged by Joanna MacGregor 
8.
Libertango by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Notes: Arranged by Joanna MacGregor 
9.
Concerto for String Orchestra in D major by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Joanna MacGregor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In