fri 21/07/2017

Royal Albert Hall

Prom 6: Benedetti, BBC NOW, Søndergård - dazzling violin magic

Nicola Benedetti was the star of this show, no doubt about that. She is a Proms regular and favourite, attracting a large and enthusiastic audience, the Royal Albert Hall filled almost to capacity. And she didn’t disappoint, giving a performance of...

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Prom 7 review: Weilerstein, BBCSO, Weilerstein - new cello concerto enthrals

It’s at times like this that I give thanks for the Proms. Who else would (or could) have put together a programme pairing Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with an 18th-century sonic fantasy, or topped it off with a substantial UK premiere? A bit...

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Prom 3: Faust, COE, Haitink - Europeans tread air under 88-year-old master

The message must be getting through. On the First Night of the Proms, Igor Levit played as encore Liszt's transcription of the great Beethoven melody appropriated as the European Anthem; in Prom 2, Daniel Barenboim unleashed his Staatskapelle Berlin...

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Prom 1 review: Levit, BBCSO, Gardner - fizzing Adams finally ignites mixed First Night

The ideal First Night of the Proms sets the tone for the season, perhaps flagging up some of the themes to be followed up later, offering a blend of novelty and familiarity, and preferably ending with a roof-raising choral blockbuster. This...

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Pick of the 2017 BBC Proms: from Orthodox chant to Oklahoma!

It’s the best-looking Proms season on paper for quite a few years. That might just be a different way of saying we like it, but no-one could reproach Director David Pickard for lack of original programming or diversity (look at the whole, bigger...

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'You are my hero, dear Jiří': Karita Mattila and others remember Jiří Bělohlávek

The first of Jiří Bělohlávek’s final three appearances in London, conducting his Czech Philharmonic in a concert performance of Janáček’s Jenůfa, came as a shock. The trademark grey curly hair had vanished. Clearly he had undergone chemotherapy, but...

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Radio 2 Folk Awards, Royal Albert Hall

One thing was very clear at Wednesday night’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, held at the Royal Albert Hall – at the moment at least, Scotland has something of a monopoly when it comes to folk music talent. While Desert Island Discs suggests the current...

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CD: Bob Dylan - The Real Royal Albert Hall Concert

Hailing a lift in torrential rain one night from an early 2000s Dylan concert at Docklands Arena – that long-gone ghost of a room – I fell into conversation with a fellow passenger who apologetically turned to me, admitting in old-fashioned Received...

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Grande Messe des Morts, BBCSO, Roth, RAH

Lest we forget. On Flanders’ Fields. For the Fallen. No one does stiff-upper-lip, buttoned-up remembrance quite like the English. Since its composition only a little over half a century ago, the War Requiem has become our national anthem for the...

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Carlos Acosta, The Classical Farewell, Royal Albert Hall

This is it. This is absolutely, definitely, finally Carlos Acosta's farewell to classical ballet. He has managed to spin out his retirement celebrations for almost a year: he gave his last performance on the Royal Opera House main stage last...

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David Gilmour, Royal Albert Hall

A single guitar note rang out over smouldering synth-chords. It was bent up a tone and then wavered in the air before gracefully falling. And so began the final residency of the Rattle That Lock tour. No hype. No support act. Just David...

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Last Night of the Proms, BBCSO, Oramo

I had never been to the Last Night of the Proms until last night, nor really paid much attention to it in recent years. To the extent I did, I have been resentful of the fact that to many people it represents the Proms as a whole, with its flag...

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