Hallé

Baffling and vile: ETO’s Manon Lescaut reviewed

In 1937, John Barbirolli took six pieces by Henry Purcell and arranged them for an orchestra of strings, horns and woodwinds. Nothing unusual about that: arranging baroque music for modern symphony orchestras was what famous conductors used to do. Beecham and Hamilton Harty re-upholstered Handel. Mahler did something similar with Bach, then directed the result from a grand piano, and wouldn’t you give anything to have heard him? All good clean fun in those innocent days before the advent of historically informed performance. ‘Can you tell me what was happening?’ asked a woman on the way out It’s unusual to hear these things revived now, and curiouser still when the

Perfect English songs in fresh new colours: Roderick Williams sings Butterworth

Another week, another online concert; and since orchestral music seems likely to be confined to screens and stereos for a while longer, one might as well try and experience something new. But not too new — I’ve pretty much had it up to here with the present. The Hallé orchestra is currently streaming a collection of Shropshire Lad songs by George Butterworth, conducted by Sir Mark Elder and sung by the baritone Roderick Williams in orchestral versions of his own creation. That seems ideal: music by the most perfect of English classical songwriters, in fresh and unfamiliar new colours. And time spent with an artist as likeable and intelligent as