tue 17/10/2017

Southbank Centre

Ensemble InterContemporain, Pintscher, RFH review - a visit from the gentle ghost of Boulez

The Royal Festival Hall rather belied its name for a visit to London on Saturday of France’s premier new-music ensemble. It can’t be helped that the more intimate space of the Queen Elizabeth Hall next door is presently closed for renovation, but...

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Goode, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - tender Mozart, dynamic Bruckner

Richard Goode is one of the world’s great pianists, but you wouldn’t guess it from his humble and unpretentious stage manner. He wears thick glasses and squints into the music, and when he plays he sings along under his breath. When he is not...

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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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Oedipe, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - Enescu's masterpiece glorious and complete

It’s official: Romanian master George Enescu’s four-act Greek epic lives and breathes as a work of transcendent genius. It took last year’s Royal Opera production to lead us further along the path established by the magnificent EMI studio recording...

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Richard Goode, Royal Festival Hall

How to change the way we hear Chopin and Beethoven: play Bach first. Richard Goode opened his Royal Festival Hall recital with the Partita No.6 in E minor, perhaps the most enigmatic and challenging of its siblings. Its intricate contrapuntal lines...

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Sebestyén, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer, RFH

This was a very fine concert indeed, plus a lot more. The first half was a very carefully planned series of unveilings around the theme of Béla Bartók and Hungarian folk music, the second an overwhelming performance of his Duke Bluebeard’s...

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in vain, London Sinfonietta, Lubman, Royal Festival Hall

If Georg Friedrich Haas’s in vain was a work of political protest when it premiered in 2000, in 2017 it’s a piece that reads more like a commentary – a disturbing musical documentary that captures nearly 20 years of escalating European tensions,...

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Mahler 8, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

For the first performances of his Eighth Symphony in Munich, Mahler conducted 11 rehearsals. He arranged for the bells of the city’s trams to be silenced during the concerts. He left nothing to chance. On Saturday night, for once, one felt that all...

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Buchbinder, Philharmonia, Hrůša, RFH

It's a rare concert when nothing need be questioned about the orchestral playing. The usual nagging doubts – about whether any of the London orchestras has a recognisable sound-identity, or whether Rattle's swipe agains the two main London concert...

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Bryars and Reich, London Philharmonic Orchestra, RFH

In 1970, documentary maker Alan Power interviewed homeless people in the Elephant and Castle area of London. Rejected footage found its way to composer Gavin Bryars, including a short clip of an old man singing a snatch of a religious song. This...

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Maurizio Pollini, RFH

Age is finally catching up with Maurizio Pollini. This recital was one of a series to mark the pianist’s 75th birthday, presenting Beethoven piano sonatas, music at the core of his repertoire. His legendary status was justified by these readings,...

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NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, Järvi, RFH

Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics; Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam; NHKSO Tokyo. Would you have thought of putting the Japanese orchestra in the same league as the top Europeans? I certainly wouldn't, at least not until last night. While there isn't the...

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