THE TIMES OF LONDON|
September 3, 2006
Masur and his French orchestra brought Henze’s exquisite set of miniatures, Five Messages for the Queen of Sheba (extracted from his most recent, and probably last, opera, L’Upupa — still, shamefully, unperformed in the UK), as a prelude to an unusually thoughtful account of Shostakovich’s sometimes bombastic Leningrad Symphony (No 7). It was a joy to encounter Henze still revelling in fresh, ear-tickling sounds: the harp, tuned percussion and three piccolos of the fandango brilliantly evoke the Arabian origin of the opera’s subject matter and display his undimmed wizardry as an orchestrator. Now we urgently need to hear the whole opera.