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Roger Norrington’s first Zurich season puts Britten first

He may have taken a kicking lately from a dyspeptic Colin Davis, but the anti-vibrato conductor Sir Roger Norrington is way out there doing his bit for Queen and Country.

His first season as head of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, announced today, puts Benjamin Britten at the centre of the agenda in the composer’s centenary year.

Details here and here.

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  1. harold braun says:

    How right Sir Colin is.I left a concert with Norrington some years ago during the first item played,Wagner`s Tristan Prelude.Absolutely risible,disgusting performance.My first and last Norrington experience ever.

  2. tgjolley says:

    parted company with this one years ago after listening to his analysis of the “eroica”

  3. Thomas P says:

    I’ve heard Zuckerman speak as passionately, apoplectically even, about so-called authentic performance.

  4. Michael B. says:

    Norrington is one of the worst examples of the “authentic performance practice” brigade. He feels that he has complete liberty to substitute his own theories for both the performance tradition of the work involved and the express intentions of the composer. When he recorded Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” some years ago, for some reason he cut the orchestra down to about 60–no matter that Berlioz, himself, had suggested something like 130 players in his own writings. The result was a performance that lacked the weight and intensity required in this work. It really takes some genius to make the fourth and fifth movements, “March to the Scaffold” and “Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath,” boring, but Norrington managed it. Don’t even get me started on his anti-vibrato crusade–if vibrato were not used in the late 19th century, don’t you believe that recordings by Bruno Walter, who started conducting professionally when Brahms was still alive, would have reflected that.

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