mon 22/05/2017

Classical Reviews

Kempf, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Simonov, Cadogan Hall

david Nice

It could have been your standard Russian touring programme: Tchaikovsky ballet music as hors d'oeuvre, Rachmaninov piano concerto, Shostakovich symphony.

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Monteverdi Vespers, Vox Luminis, FBC, St John's Smith Square

alexandra Coghlan

On paper this was a knockout concert: Gramophone Award-winning Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis teaming up with the wonderfully gutsy Freiburg Baroque Consort to perform Monteverdi’s Vespers in the composer’s 450th anniversary year – one of the highlights of this year’s London Festival of Baroque Music....

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Bach Brandenburg Concertos, OAE, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Robert Beale

Enlightenment is a wonderful idea, and the members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment who played Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall last night brought the wisdom of today’s period instrument movement to bear on music that most would see as belonging to the age of the pre-Enlightenment.

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CBSO, Wilson, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Richard Bratby

It’s been said – and with some justification – that John Wilson’s own Orchestra has the finest-sounding string section in the world today. What’s certain is that when Wilson guests with other orchestras, he transforms their string sound. It’s not merely the unselfconscious touches of period style – those perfectly gauged expressive slides – and nor is it just the unforced luminosity: how the surface sheen seems to be lit from within.

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Lise Davidsen, James Baillieu, Wigmore Hall

alexandra Coghlan

Few young singers make a UK recital debut like Lise Davidsen’s. But then, few singers come to that debut with such a weight of reputation and expectation. Taking not only the First Prize but also the Audience Prize and Birgit Nilsson Awards at 2015’s Operalia competition, established the then 28-year-old Norwegian soprano as one to watch.

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theartsdesk at Tectonics Glasgow 2017

David Kettle

Has Glasgow’s Tectonics weekend turned away from its wilder excess? Has it, in its fifth outing, even – well, grown up and got serious?

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Total Immersion: Edgard Varèse, Barbican

Peter Quantrill

Made from girders, say the brewers of an infamous Scottish fizzy drink. If you could siphon the music of Edgard Varèse into a can, that’s what it would taste like. Blunt, acrid, inimitable, fizzing with closely guarded, possibly unpleasant ingredients. The danger was that exposure to his entire output in one day would prove no more palatable than chugging through a two-litre bottle of Irn-Bru.

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Chineke! Orchestra, Brighton Festival / Saleem Ashkar, Wigmore Hall

david Nice

Anyone who missed the opening Southbank concerts of the Chinike! Orchestra, figurehead of a foundation which aims to give much-needed help to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians, could and now can (on YouTube) catch snippets of the players in action on the splendid documentary about young cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

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Wosner, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Kings Place

Bernard Hughes

For most pianists, playing the Ligeti Piano Concerto would be enough exertion for one night, to be followed by a stiff drink and some down time. Not for the tireless Shai Wosner at Kings Place last night. By the time the Ligeti came along, not only had he already played a Mozart concerto, he then went on to appear in every remaining item in the programme.

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Sughayer, Manchester Camerata Soloists, Manchester Cathedral

Robert Beale

Two works whose whole significance depends on (unspoken) sacred texts made a stimulating combination for a concert in Manchester Cathedral’s sacred space. Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross – usually heard in its string quartet version – is an instrumental version of Christ's words from the Gospels’ descriptions of the Passion.

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