“Sound and fury”: a terrific Manfred from Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia

Scriabin, Mozart, Tchaikovsky: Philharmonia/Ashkenazy ****

Vladimir Ashkenazy © Keith Saunders

Vladimir Ashkenazy
© Keith Saunders

Royal Festival Hall, 19th April 2015

Tchaikovsky’s Manfred is the black sheep of his symphonic canon. Many conductors refuse to include it in performed or recorded cycles. Based on Byron’s dramatic poem, it is a strange, sprawling work, like Berlioz’s equally Byronic Harold en Italie. It’s as if he’d thrown together Francesca da Rimini and Romeo and Juliet and tried to mould them into symphonic form. The composer himself came to detest it and considered reworking the first movement into a separate work. To survive in the concert hall, Manfred requires full, red-blooded commitment… which is exactly what it received from the Philharmonia and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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