Barbara Hannigan and Simon Rattle with “Façade” by William Walton
Late Night at the Philharmonie
Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle
“Youkali”, “Je ne t’aime pas” and “Lost in the Stars” (00:14:19)
Façade for speaker and 6 instruments (00:47:41)
Barbara Hannigan about Kurt Weill and William Walton (00:12:33)
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.