[img]http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.3/84816?ns=guardian&pageName=BBC+Philharmonic%2FNoseda+%7C+Classical+review%3AArticle%3A1315219&ch=Music&c3=Guardian&c4=Classical+music+%28Music+genre%29%2CMusic%2CBallet%2CCulture+section&c6=Tim+Ashley&c7=09-Dec-06&c8=1315219&c9=Article&c10=Review%2CLive+music+review&c11=Music&c13=&c25=&c30=content&h2=GU%2FMusic%2FClassical+music[/img]Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
When a score by a major composer goes unheard for 61 years, there's usually a reason why. By the time Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic had finished giving Dallapiccola's ballet Marsia its first complete outing since 1948, one was left wondering, however, what that reason might be.
Dallapiccola's treatment of his subject, the flaying of Marsyas, falls squarely into a 20th-century tradition of politically engaged mythological reworkings. Marsyas had his skin ripped off after being defeated by Apollo in a rigged musical contest. The score contrasts elegant, Attic simplicity with music of often unspeakable violence that establishes Apollo as a thug from the outset. The allusions to fascism are clear, so it is at least unsurprising that the score, completed in 1943, had to wait until after the war for its premiere. Choreographers, one suspects, might also have been fazed by the ending, a big, unvarying threnody, 10 minutes long. None of this quite explains that extended absence, though.
Its rediscovery, however, is surely the most important outcome to date of Noseda's support for Dallapiccola's work. He gave of his best in it, conducting with an intensity at times as fierce as the music itself, above all in the remarkable passages where Apollo's strummed lyre seems to infect the rest of the musical fabric like some horrendous plague.
More works written for dance framed Marsia. A short group of extracts from Khachaturian's Gayaneh glistened with an almost Debussyan sensuousness. Extended suites from Swan Lake also gave us Noseda's Tchaikovsky at its best‚ maturely tragic rather than neurotic, and exposing the adult emotions that lurk beneath its fairytale surface.
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Guardian: BBC Philharmonic/Noseda | Classical review
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