sat 24/06/2017

choral music

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour review - West End transfer hits all the right notes

Sacred and profane, trivial and profound blissfully combine in this irresistible, Olivier Award-winning tale of choirgirls gone wild. Lee Hall, of Billy Elliot fame, adapts Alan Warner’s 1998 novel with a similarly shrewd grasp of youthful hope...

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

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...

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CD: Kasai Allstars & Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste - Around Félicité

This is a bit of a curiosity. Kasai Allstars were bought to our attention by producer Vincent Kenis almost a decade ago, after he’d had great success with those masters of the amplified thumb piano cacophony, Konono 1. Though the Allstars also have...

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Dvořák Requiem, BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, Bělohlávek, Barbican

Not your usual blockbuster for Holy Week, this. In other words, neither of the Bach Passions but a Requiem, and not – these days, at any rate – one of the more often-performed ones (it's not among the 79 works listed in The BBC Proms Guide...

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First Person: 15 years of Tenebrae, a lifetime of choral music

Having just celebrated a birthday the wrong side of 50 years of age I confess to regularly pinching myself when I dare to look back and see the higgledy-piggledy route my life has taken to bring me to the present day, as we celebrate 15 years of...

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Crowe, La Nuova Musica, Bates, St John's Smith Square

Five seconds of cadenza in Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate would be enough to tell you that there's no more magical stylist among sopranos than Lucy Crowe. In an evening of Allelujas, Glorias and heartfelt Amens beautifully modulated by director of...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas 2016 (part 2)

Bach: Christmas Oratorio Dunedin Consort/John Butt (Linn)This set makes a brilliant counterpoint to last week’s modern instrument Sony recording, an earthier, differently flavoured set from one of the UK’s best period ensembles. John Butt uses just...

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Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Gardiner, Barbican

Add three natural trumpets, flawlessly wielded, to chorus and standard period-instrument orchestra, and the seasonal spirit will flow no matter the context. It's true that Bach's Magnificat is not that common a visitor at this time of year -...

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theartsdesk in Budapest: Prophecy in the world's best concert hall

August 1914, September 2001, all of 2016: these are the dates Hungary's late, great writer Péter Esterházy served up for the non-linear narrative of his friend Péter Eötvös's Halleluja - Oratorium Balbulum. Its Hungarian premiere in one of the world...

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El Niño, LSO, Adams, Barbican

Second and third times lucky: after the migraine-inducing multimedia overload of Peter Sellars's premiere production of El Niño, first seen in London in 2003 and subsequently excoriated in eloquent prose by the composer himself, John Adams's layered...

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The Choir: Gareth's Best in Britain, BBC Two

Got Soul! Honeybelles! Mums in Durham! Three shortlisted finalists from the north and Scotland. Along the way we – and Gareth Malone – were sung to by the Mancunian Rhythm of Life, not to mention Too Many Cooks in Inverness, and a septuagenarian all...

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MacMillan's Stabat Mater, The Sixteen, Britten Sinfonia, Barbican Hall

No living composer writes more compellingly for choir or for strings than James MacMillan (a surprisingly accepted "Sir" is now an optional addition to the name). This beautifully planned programme's first half gave us the former, a cappella choral...

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