Wednesday, November 16, 2005

David Hockney's 'Private Passions'



David Hockney's creative genius embraces the performing, as well as the visual, arts. His first stage commission was for a production of Jarry's Ubu Roi at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1966. In 1974 he designed his first opera, the highly acclaimed Rake's Progress by Stravinsky for Glyndebourne. A second collaboration with Glyndebourne followed, on Mozart's Magic Flute (below) in 1978. I remember sitting in the audience that year wearing the de rigeur Glyndebourne uniform of dinner jacket, Hockney was in the row behind wearing a tee shirt and a non-matching pair of old trainers.

Other notable stage commissions included triple bills of Satie, Poulenc and Ravel (Parade, Les Mamelles de Tiresias and L'enfant et les sortilèges) and Stravinsky (Le Rossignol, Le Sacré du Printemps and Oedipus Rex) in 1981 for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Wagner's Tristan und Isolde for the Los Angeles Music Centre, Puccini's Turandot in San Francisco and Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten at Covent Garden.

Given such a brilliant involvement with the performing arts it is not surprising that David Hockney's selection of musical 'Private Passions,' selected for the BBC Radio 3 programme of the same name, is an enchanting selection of magical moments from the theatre:

* Richard Strauss, 'Falcon Aria' (from Die Frau ohne Schatten, Act II), René Kollo (Emperor)/ Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Wolfgang Sawallisch EMI CDC 749077-2
* Mozart, 'Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkunden' (from The Magic Flute), Lucia Popp (Pamina) / Tolz Boys' Choir / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Bernard Haitink EMI CDC 747953-2
* Ravel, 'Five o'clock Foxtrot' (from L'enfant et les sortilèges), Jocelyne Taillon (Chinese cup), Philip Langridge (Teapot) / London Symphony Orchestra / André Previn EMI CDC 747169-2
* Stavinsky, 'Song of the Nightingale' (from Le rossignol), Phylis Bryn-Julson (Nightingale), Neil Howlett (Emperor) / BBC Symphony Orcestra / Pierre Boulez Erato 2292-45627-2
* Wagner, Prelude to Tristan und Isolde, Philharmonia / Wilhelm Furtwängler EMI CDC 747322-2
* Bartók, String Quartet No. 2 (second movement, Allegro molto capriccioso), Takás Quartet Hungaraton HCD 12502-2

Programme playlist from Private Passions by Michael Berkeley, published by Faber. David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) comes via WebMuseum, Paris.
Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

3 comments:

Henry Holland said...

I've seen his Tristan, Frau and Turandot and I loved all three, especially the Frau. Like most directors/designers, they had a bit of the "seen this before" about 'em, but that's OK. Too bad the singing didn't match up to the sets! :-)

Anonymous said...

Do not overlook one of the greatest men in music:
http://www.fredfrith.com/

He will be touring the UK next week, with the Katia Labèque Band.

Do you know him? I do. A Great Musician. Just have a look at his discography.

Anonymous said...

Hello
Would anybody tell me how to authentify drawings and watercolors from David Hockney, and if a contact with the artist is possible?
Thank you
Alain