wed 24/05/2017

Schumann

theartsdesk Q&A: Horn-player Alec Frank-Gemmill

Traditional musical formats rarely suit the individual talent, but the highly-motivated player always finds a way. I first got to talk to Alec Frank-Gemmill in the very sociable surroundings of the Pärnu Festival in Estonia, a gathering most...

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Jonathan Biss, Milton Court

"Late Style", the theme and title of pianist Jonathan Biss's three-concert miniseries, need not be synonymous with terminal thoughts of death. This recital ranged from introspection (Brahms), radiant simplicity (Schumann) and aphoristic minimalism (...

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Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall

Mitsuko Uchida specialises in elegant, if uncontroversial, interpretations of core Austro-German repertoire, yet she’s never predictable, and every performance is full of unexpected insights and welcome surprises. Mozart and Schumann stand at...

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The Schumann Project, Oxford Lieder Festival

It felt oddly disrespectful showing up in time for Schumann's wake on the fifteenth and final day of this year's Oxford Lieder Festival. Having started with the early piano music and many of the chamber works before moving on to Schumann's annus...

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Isserlis, Mustonen, Wigmore Hall

For a BBC Radio 3 lunchtime's hour of music, cellist Steven Isserlis's latest collaboration with that most individual of pianists Olli Mustonen went astonishingly deep. The surprises were equal in its two halves - the first a through-conceived...

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First Person: Steven Isserlis on Schumann's advice to the young

All musicians have particular musical passions, composers, styles or genres to which they are irresistibly drawn. I have many – almost too many at times; but among the most enduring is my love for the music, writing and personality of Robert...

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Jeremy Denk, Wigmore Hall

Medieval to Modern – Jeremy Denk’s Wigmore Hall recital took us on a whistle-stop tour of Western music, beginning with Machaut in the mid-14th century and ending with Ligeti at the end of the 20th. The programme was made up of 25 short works, each...

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theartsdesk at the D-Marin Festival: Turkish poetry in music, Bach at sunrise

Istanbul six weeks before the failed coup, the south-west coast of Turkey six weeks after: what's the difference? None that I could see; once past the Turkish Airlines flights, with literature and screen full of the "People's Victory", there was no...

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theartsdesk at the Rosendal Festival: Schubert above a fjord

More than just a great and serious pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes is a Mensch. His special gift in recent years has been to bring young musicians just establishing their careers together with star players like himself in beautiful and/or interesting...

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Edinburgh Festival: Boulez celebration, Andreas Ottensamer, Stephen Hough

Remarkably, Pierre Boulez made his first appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival way back in 1948, at only the Festival’s second ever outing, in charge of music for director Jean-Louis Barrault’s production of Hamlet. He remained a...

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East Neuk Festival 2016

All the best festivals develop organically, with a guiding hand from the best directors. When I first came to the East Neuk Festival two years ago, on its 10th anniversary, it was already a special case, thriving on the spirit of place and including...

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Nocturnes for Midsummer

After a grey start, there was a spectacular sunset around midnight on the second of my two days in Reykjavik. It's what brings one of Iceland's most brilliant younger-generation talents, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson (and yes, he's worked with Björk),...

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