thu 18/01/2018

Bach

Bach Cantatas - not just for Christmas

Faced with yet another new work premiered by the Borodin Quartet, Shostakovich asked a daunting question: "but have you played all of Haydn's quartets yet?". Of course they hadn't, and felt justly rebuked. As a listener and sometime performer, I...

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Christmas Oratorio, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - right piece, wrong place

Just when you can scarcely move for Messiahs, two Christmas Oratorios came along at once on Saturday night. That’s London concert schedules for you. While John Butt and his Dunedin Consort unwrapped four of the cantatas at the Wigmore Hall, Vladimir...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs, part 2

 Bach: Magnificat in E flat, Missa in F Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner (SDG)John Eliot Gardiner first recorded Bach’s joyous Magnificat in the 1980s. This revisit gives us the work’s less familiar original...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Sofya Gulyak, The Prince Regent's Band, Esmerine

 Chaconne - Sofya Gulyak (piano) (Champs Hill Records)Traditionally, a chaconne is an instrumental piece in triple time with a continually repeating bass line. Sofya Gulyak, winner of the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition, gives us seven. Best known...

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

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...

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Angela Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review – Bach Partitas shine and sing

On paper this was a fairly austere piece of programming. No variety in composer, genre or style, just four Bach Partitas in a row, works of similar approach, length and technique. And yet in performance, in the hands of Angela Hewitt, there was...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Morton Feldman, Maria Marchant

Bach: Keyboard Concertos, Italian Concerto Sonya Bach (piano), English Chamber Orchestra/John Mills and Stephanie Gonley (leaders) (Rubicon)There's no shortage of decent recordings of Bach concertos played on piano. I’d probably rescue my Murray...

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Reger Cello Suites, Richard Harwood, Malling Abbey review - Bach with a dash of acid

Three “little greats,” as Opera North might put it, proved just the thing to cleanse the palate in a quiet place the afternoon after the LSO/Rattle Stravinsky trilogy. Composed following a breakdown in 1914, the year after the premiere of The Rite...

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Prom 73 review: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 1, Schiff - glorious solo voyage across Bach's universe

Amazingly, last night Sir András Schiff scored a Proms first with his performance of Book One of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. Never before has even half of the sublime and seminal “48” taken the Royal Albert Hall stage in unmutilated form...

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Proms at... & Prom 56 reviews: Multi-Story Orchestra / BBCSO, Hrůša - the best of all possible worlds

There we had it, in one extraordinary Proms day: the brave new world of contemporary classical music for all in a repurposed Peckham car park followed by the consolidation of the old order in all-Czech programming of remarkable originality and...

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Prom 50 review: Josefowicz, Clayton, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla - personality in every bar

Everything you may have read about Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla's wonder-working with her City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is true. Confined to a Turkish hospital bed when their first Prom together took place last August, I wondered from the radio...

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Proms 47, 48 & 49 review: Reformation Day - superlative Bach as the bedrock

Reformation Day, Luther 500 - in Proms terms it can only mean Bach, the alpha and omega of music, flourishing roughly two centuries after the Wittenberg Nightingale nailed his 95 theses to the church door. Those of us who headed home on Saturday...

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