thu 23/03/2017

Classical Reviews

Bryars and Reich, London Philharmonic Orchestra, RFH

Bernard Hughes

In 1970, documentary maker Alan Power interviewed homeless people in the Elephant and Castle area of London. Rejected footage found its way to composer Gavin Bryars, including a short clip of an old man singing a snatch of a religious song. This became the basis of the minimalist classic Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, performed by members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday.

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Andreas Scholl, Accademia Bizantina, Barbican

alexandra Coghlan

Marian devotions have given us some of sacred music’s most striking works, from graceful Ave Marias to anguished settings of the Stabat Mater. Andreas Scholl and musicologist Bernardo Ticci have recently gone in search of some less familiar ones – companion pieces for Vivaldi’s theatrical Stabat Mater, which has long been part of Scholl’s concert repertoire.

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Maurizio Pollini, RFH

Gavin Dixon

Age is finally catching up with Maurizio Pollini. This recital was one of a series to mark the pianist’s 75th birthday, presenting Beethoven piano sonatas, music at the core of his repertoire. His legendary status was justified by these readings, his usual combination of rich, robust voicing and elegant, craggy lyricism.

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theartsdesk in Bergen: Questions upon questions at Borealis Festival

joe Muggs

There comes a point in any experimental music festival when you have to accept the silliness and go with it. And at Borealis, that point comes very early.

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BBC Symphony Orchestra, Young, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

A new opera from Peter Eötvös is a major event. More than any other composer today, he has the ability to create sophisticated contemporary music that supports and enriches sung drama.

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Dego, CBSO, Rustioni, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Richard Bratby

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari has never quite been a one-work composer. No points for knowing the fizzy overture to his delightful 1909 pro-smoking comedy Il segreto di Susanna; quite a few more if you know the whole opera.

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Tara Erraught, Ulrich Pluta, James Baillieu, Wigmore Hall

Peter Quantrill

As a scan through the 17-year list of Rosenblatt Recitals quickly reveals, sopranos and tenors come and (often as not) go. Much rarer is the opportunity to enjoy the gifts of a mezzo-soprano near the start of what should, all things being equal, be a long and illustrious career.

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NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, Järvi, RFH

david Nice

Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics; Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam; NHKSO Tokyo. Would you have thought of putting the Japanese orchestra in the same league as the top Europeans? I certainly wouldn't, at least not until last night.

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Frank-Gemmill, SCO, Manze, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

David Kettle

March 2017 is MacMillan month in Scotland – well, in Glasgow at least, with certain events spilling over into Edinburgh and other cities too.

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BBC Singers, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

david Nice

It's official: if you want to be guaranteed an infallible musical adrenalin boost in London, you can always be sure to find it with Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo and his BBC Symphony Orchestra. And it's not just a question of splashy excitement: Oramo is a rigorous rehearser.

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