sat 25/03/2017

Baroque

Andreas Scholl, Accademia Bizantina, Barbican

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 –...

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Gauvin, Le Concert de la Loge, Chauvin, Wigmore Hall

Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin has one of the most beautiful voices in the business – a glinting crystal blade sheathed in velvet. She wields it with skill, darting swiftly with coloratura one minute, before stabbing deep with emotion the next. In...

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Alcina, RAM, Round Chapel, Hackney

Handel’s Alcina is about sex, certainly. But unlike Olivia Fuchs’s new production for the Royal Academy of Music, it’s about an awful lot of other things as well. Power, illusion, ageing, love, gender, family, intimacy – all these themes find...

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Beyond Caravaggio, National Gallery

Cheekily bottom-like, their downy skin blushing enticingly, these must be the sexiest apricots ever painted. If you held out your hand, you might just be able to touch them, there in the foreground of what is thought to be Caravaggio’s earliest...

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Remembering Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)

2016 began with the passing of Pierre Boulez, arguably the doyen of modernism in the field of classical music. Now, only a couple of months later, it is the turn of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a musician occupying a similar level of singular elevation but...

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The Return, Circa, Barbican

If you thought circus acrobats and Shostakovich were a daring combination, try circus acrobats and Monteverdi. While the spiky harmonies and vivd dynamics of 20th-century Russian string quartets sit pretty nicely with circus show-offery, surely...

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Michael Palin’s Quest for Artemisia, BBC Four

For his latest journey Michael Palin, actor, writer, novelist, comedian, Python, traveller, has gone beyond geography in search of the visual arts with his characteristic enthusiasm, eclectic curiosity, and sense of discovery.With his usual...

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The King Dances, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells

For an art form with a marked penchant for looking over its shoulder, it’s surprising how rarely ballet has exploited its own origins story – not least given the fabled opulence and style of its leading character. The Sleeping Beauty makes a nod to...

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Farinelli and the King, Duke of York's Theatre

No doubt this sophisticated bagatelle starring Mark Rylance worked like a charm in the intimate space and woody resonance of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The Duke of York's Theatre is one of the West End’s smaller mainstream venues, its proscenium...

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Accentus, Insula, Equilbey, Barbican

The frail bridge between Baroque and Classical aesthetics was the theme for this debut UK appearance by Insula, the period-orchestra extension to Laurence Equilbey’s superb vocal ensemble accentus.With a chunky harpsichord continuo and urgent pulse...

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The King Who Invented Ballet, BBC Four

Someone more unlike Louis XIV than David Bintley is hard to imagine. The latter comes across on TV as the most pleasant, unthreatening, mild-mannered of Everymen; unthinkable that he would order the massacre of Protestants or proclaim, “l’État, c’...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Hugi Guðmundsson, Schubert, Les Siècles

Hugi Guðmundsson: Calm of the Deep The Hamrahlíd Choir/Þorgerður Ingólfsdóttir, Nordic Affect/Guðni Franzson (Smekkleysa)Calm of the Deep introduces us to contemporary Icelandic composer Hugi Guðmundsson. Who sees his music as “a dialogue between...

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