Music to My Ears: What the classical world has been listening to this month 

Strauss Master: Kart Bohm is remembered fondly by Andrew Litton 

I’ve been listening to a lot of Oscar Peterson. The thing I love so much about his performances is just how beautifully he played the instrument. He had an approach to the sound of the piano that even most classical artists cannot replicate – he had an extraordinary touch, concept of colour and use of the sustain pedal. To my way of thinking, only Vladimir Horowitz had a similar command of the technical properties of the piano.

I’ve had a lot of long haul flights recently, during which I've been listening to Karl Behm’s second recording of Richard Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten. I remember seeing him conduct it at the Met and it’s been fun to go down that memory lane. Even at his elevated age he produced a pretty remarkable performance. I’ve always appreciated how Bohm conducted Strauss, keeping things ticking along and never losing his way, in all the places that one could.

This year, I’m finally going to get a chance to conduct Britten’s War Requiem, so I’ve been going back to the source, as it were, in the form of Britten’s own recording. Like any large-structured piece, there are moments where you could say “perhaps we could do without these 20 bars” or whatever, but overall the dramatic and emotional impact is so staggering that it doesn’t matter what happens along the way. It’s an incredibly powerful work.

Courtesy of BBC Music Magazine, January 2013