Barbara Hannigan and Simon Rattle with “Façade” by William Walton
12 Jun 2015
Late Night at the Philharmonie
Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle
“Youkali” · “Je ne t’aime pas” · “Lost in the Stars” (14 min.)
Façade for reciter and six instruments (47 min.)
Barbara Hannigan on Kurt Weill and William Walton (12 min.)
What a programme Sir Simon Rattle, soprano Barbara Hannigan and members of the Berliner Philharmoniker assembled for this Late Night: naughty, sophisticated, sexy and subversive – in the spirit of Stravinsky and Weill, but also very British. William Walton’s 1923 “entertainment” Façade, with texts by his notorious friend and patroness Edith Sitwell, brought him overnight the reputation – deservedly – of an enfant terrible of modern English music.
Such an audacious combination of academic, popular, cabaret and jazz musical idioms was new to London. And performances of this high-spirited entertainment – a gem of musical humour too seldom heard in Germany – still have an astonishing power to set toes tapping, to elicit unexpected smiles and, at attempts at orientation, to twist the listener’s mind into a happily convoluted maze...
In December 2012, Barbara Hannigan and Simon Rattle presented excerpts of this captivating piece during a Late Night concert. The soprano impressed audiences not only with her comedic talent and her acrobatic articulation, but also with her skills as a conductor. Sir Simon was also seen outside his usual role and took on the role of a singer. That performance left audiences crying out for more... so the piece was performed in its entirety in this Late Night concert – entertainment of the highest order.