tue 21/11/2017

Classical Reviews

Singcircle, Barbican review - veteran ensemble bids farewell with Stockhausen

Gavin Dixon

STIMMUNG is always an event. Stockhausen’s score calls for a ritual as much as a performance, with six singers sitting around a spherical light on a low table, the audience voyeurs at some intimate but unexplained rite.

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Frang, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - an Elgar tradition renewed

Richard Bratby

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla has such a rapport with her Birmingham public that she can silence a capacity crowd - 2000-plus audience members, spilling over into Symphony Hall’s choir stalls – with the tiniest of gestures. Into that silence she neatly placed the first chord of Messiaen’s Un sourire, and you could hear every fibre of the string texture.

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Messiaen & Shostakovich, St John's Smith Square review - Osborne and Gerhardt anchor 1940s masterpieces

david Nice

Only connect.

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András Schiff, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – rigour and honesty

Robert Beale

Intellectual rigour and emotional honesty are the rewarding qualities in András Schiff’s Bach playing. Virtuosity comes as standard, too. And you get value for your money – his programme all but filled two-and-a-half hours, and he was as completely in command at the end as he had been at the beginning.

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Florian Boesch, Justus Zeyen, Wigmore Hall review - power, intimacy and atmosphere

Gavin Dixon

Florian Boesch is a big man. He’s tall, stocky, and with his bald head and stubble could seem more like a gangster than a Lieder singer. His voice is beautiful, but it matches his appearance – big, weighty and imposing.

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Schubert Ensemble, Kings Place review - spot-on introductions, dazzling performances

david Nice

To demonstrate what makes chamber masterpieces tick and then to play them, brilliantly, is a sequence which ought to happen more often. Perhaps too many musicians think their eloquence is confined to their instruments. Not violinist Simon Blendis and pianist William Howard of the Schubert Ensemble.

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Tabula Rasa, Traverse Theatre review - honest, compassionate, but not always convincing

David Kettle

Collaboration and collegiality are becoming ever more important across the Scottish arts scene, it seems. Glasgow theatre company Vanishing Point teamed up with Scottish Opera earlier this year for a double-bill based around Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

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LSO, Alsop, Barbican review - Bernstein 100 opens not with celebrations but existential angst

alexandra Coghlan

Amen. The end – of a prayer, a service, even the Bible itself. But what, asks Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No 3, Kaddish, if “Amen” is the beginning and not the end, the start of a conversation that hears the divine word and doesn’t say “So be it” and accept, but instead answers back?

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LPO, Renes, RFH review - solid Bruckner lacking in nuance

Gavin Dixon

This concert was to have been conducted by Stanisław Skrowaczewski, who died in February. Though futile, it’s hard not to speculate about what could have been, especially given his spectacular Bruckner performances with the London Philharmonic in recent years.

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BBCSO, Storgårds, Barbican review – Jolas intrigues, Mahler 4 disappoints

Gavin Dixon

Betsy Jolas is a pioneer, the programme for this BBC Symphony Orchestra concert told us, and she’s certainly unique. Now 91, she has been following her own course for many decades, an associate of the 1960s French avant-garde, but never a subscriber to its doctrines. Her concerto for piano and trumpet, Histoires vraies (2015), here received its UK premiere.

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