thu 22/02/2018

Finland

CD: Above & Beyond - Common Ground

There's something oddly innocent, gauche even, about the US-based Anglo-Finnish trance trio Above & Beyond. They are almost implausibly huge – their weekly radio show, called "Group Therapy" after their 2011 second album, has some 25 million...

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Komsi, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican Hall review - Sibelius series ends in glory

Twelfth Night, Epiphany, call it what you will, is one reminder that there's continuity after the turn of the year. Another was Sakari Oramo's final Sibelius-plus concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra - a predictable triumph given that the...

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Salonen conducts Sibelius, RFH/Oramo conducts Salonen, Barbican review - Finnish psychedelia

After Sakari Oramo's dazzling Sibelius rattlebag with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the centenary day of Finnish independence, things weren't looking so good for Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia at half time last Thursday (★★★). Then along...

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Blue Planet II, BBC One review - just how fragile?

The eel is dying. Its body flits through a series of complicated knots which become increasingly grotesque torques. Immersed in a pool of brine — concentrated salt water five times denser than seawater — it is succumbing to toxic shock. As biomatter...

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Johnston, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - sheer adrenalin in early Sibelius

As the Parliament of the Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire declared independence on 6 December 1917, Sibelius had his head down working on the third version of his Fifth Symphony, the one so hugely popular today. He tried...

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Batiashvili, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - electricity in Sibelius and Hillborg

Even given the peerless standards already set by Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in their Sibelius cycle, this instalment was always going to be the toughest, featuring the most elusive of the symphonies, the Sixth, and the sparest, the...

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CD: Kaukolampi - 1

“The Prodigal Son of Magnesia” is an attention-grabbing title. So are “Three Legged Giant Centipede” and “Public Execution of the Sleeping Lotus Eater”. Each suggests that the album from which they are drawn could be a prog rock epic inspired by...

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Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland review, National Gallery - light-filled northern vistas

Finland is celebrating its centenary this year and the National Gallery's exhibition of four paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kalela (1865-1931) of a very large lake in central Finland is a beguiling glimpse of the passion its inhabitants attach to its...

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CD: Siinai - Sykli

The sensation evoked by Sykli is that it documents a voyage, one beginning with anticipation for what will come and then journeying through diffuse territory which could be an endless, mist-filled valley, anywhere beyond this solar system or within...

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Santtu-Matias Rouvali on conducting in Gothenburg - 'they just want to make music. No bullshit'

Sweden's ackowledged "National Orchestra", the Gothenburg Symphony, left its Chief Conductor post unfilled for four seasons, but now it's finally certain to have let the right one in. Having enjoyed a golden age in the (largely unsung) highest...

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Kuusisto, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - Icelanders fare better than Sibelius

London orchestras do communicate with each other, sometimes at least, when it comes to programming. It can’t have been a coincidence that on Wednesday we had one Finnish chief conductor, Sakari Oramo launching his BBC Symphony Orchestra Sibelius...

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Pogostkina, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - human emotions in Sibelius's heaven

It was on the strength of a single concert including a startling Sibelius Luonnotar and Third Symphony, thankfully reported here, that Sakari Oramo was appointed Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. We had to wait a while for more major...

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