tue 19/11/2019

Classical Music reviews, news & interviews

Wang, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel, Barbican review - much more than glitz and glamour

David Nice

The megastars are here at the Barbican, for an intensive three days in the case of the LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel, throughout the season as the hall shines an "Artist Spotlight" on pianist Yuja Wang.

O/Modernt Soloists, Sonoro Ensemble, Wimbledon International Music Festival review - pure instrumental poetry

David Nice

If you're going to run a music festival with flair, it's not enough just to have a run of star performers who pop up for single events. The 11th Wimbledon International Music Festival can offer those – Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, for instance, were there a week ago.

Classical CDs Weekly: Donnacha Dennehy, Handel,...

Graham Rickson

 Donnacha Dennehy: The Hunger Alarm Will Sound/Alan Pierson, with Katherine Manley and Iarla Ó Lionáird (Nonesuch)The Great Irish Famine of 1845...

Wegener, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review – on the...

Boyd Tonkin

For better or worse, because of Visconti’s classic film the Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony now inevitably means Venice in its gloomiest moods....

ECO, Zacharias, Fairfield Halls Croydon review -...

Peter Quantrill

Switch off for a phrase or two and it’s easy to miss the point in a Haydn symphony that makes each one of them odd and unique. In No. 74, played last...

Pavlů, Prague SO, Inkinen, Cadogan Hall review - exhilarating but uneven Mahler Third

Gavin Dixon

Czech band brings excitement and colour, but their dizzy climaxes overwhelm

'The Academy and I': composer and viola-player Sally Beamish on a special relationship

Sally Beamish

On composing anniversary pieces for an ensemble she knows from the inside

Roméo et Juliette, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - surprisingly sober take on Berlioz epic

David Nice

'MTT' celebrates his 50th anniversary with a top orchestra, but the panache has gone

Williams, LPO, Alsop, RFH review - sleek lines and pastoral tones

Gavin Dixon

Power and precision in all-British programme, but the music retains its poetry

Music for Youth's Judith Webster: '91% of the young people we work with are from state schools'

Judith Webster

As their big Albert Hall Proms approach, MFY's CEO explains the essentials

Wallfisch, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - Weinberg UK premiere

Robert Beale

Subtlety and haunting qualities in a little gem for solo cello and string orchestra

Classical LPs Weekly: Weinberg, Keaton Henson, Riopy

Graham Rickson

On vinyl: enigmatic preludes, trauma-based string music, and minimalism from a self-taught pianist

Urioste, Chineke! Orchestra, Edusei, QEH review – a precious gem catches the light at last

Jessica Duchen

Coleridge-Taylor's Violin Concerto shines ready for this idealistic orchestra's tour

Poster, Cabeza, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Kings Place review – shock of the new

Boyd Tonkin

Musical quests through city and country for the roots of the modern

'These were the quartets that made us fall in love with the genre': Dudok Quartet Amsterdam on Haydn

Dudok Quartet Amsterdam

The Dutch players speak as one on recording the Austrian composer's Op 20

Morison, RSNO, Järvi, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review – French romance

Christopher Lambton

Good Gallic ingredients from the great Scottish-Estonian partnership don’t quite add up

Classical CDs Weekly: Haydn, Mahler, Matthew Whiteside

Graham Rickson

Classical quartets, a fin-de-siècle symphony and new music inspired by particle physics

Daniil Trifonov, RFH review - devil in the works

David Nice

Electric-shock Scriabin in a programme mostly dominated by a wilful virtuoso's personality

Weinberg Focus Day, Wigmore Hall review – innocence and loss, violence and calm

Gavin Dixon

Chamber works present a complex portrait of a unique voice

The Apostles, LPO, Brabbins, RFH review - Elgar's melancholy New Testament snapshots

David Nice

Perfection of movement and solo line-up in a problem oratorio

Angela Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review - a match made in heaven

Gavin Dixon

Bach’s English Suites sparkle and dance under Hewitt’s graceful touch

Podger, Brecon Baroque, Hollingworth, Brecon Cathedral review - Bohemian footnotes yield the extraordinary

Stephen Walsh

Lively performances of music that makes unusual demands

Classical CDs Weekly: Carlos Cipa, Fozié Majd, Iiro Rantala, Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour

Graham Rickson

Contemporary music from Finland, Germany and Iran

Kozhukhin, BBC Philharmonic, Carneiro, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - melancholy heart of Mahler

Robert Beale

Gracefulness and appealing energy in different emotional worlds

Gerstein, LPO, Adès, RFH review - engaging new piano concerto

Bernard Hughes

The composer conducts the UK premiere of his impressive latest work

Andsnes, Oslo Philharmonic, Petrenko, Barbican review – polish and passion

Boyd Tonkin

A centenary showcase for one of Europe's greatest orchestras

Imogen Cooper 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall review - outwardly austere, lit from within

David Nice

Choosing to play Schubert's three last sonatas meant to give and not to receive homage

London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Ono, Barbican review - feet on the ground, eyes to the skies

David Nice

Solo vocal, choral and orchestral trumpets blaze in Janáček's Glagolitic Mass

Miklós Perényi, Dénes Várjon, Wigmore Hall review – Beethoven in wonderfully safe hands

Sebastian Scotney

Total authority with the freedom and the feel of improvisation

Footnote: a brief history of classical music in Britain

London has more world-famous symphony orchestras than any other city in the world, the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra vying with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Opera House Orchestra, crack "period", chamber and contemporary orchestras. The bursting schedules of concerts at the Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Centre and South Bank Centre, and the strength of music in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff, among other cities, show a depth and internationalism reflecting the development of the British classical tradition as European, but with specific slants of its own.

brittenWhile Renaissance monarchs Henry VIII and Elizabeth I took a lively interest in musical entertainment, this did not prevent outstanding English composers such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd developing the use of massed choral voices to stirring effect. Arguably the vocal tradition became British music's glory, boosted by the arrival of Handel as a London resident in 1710. For the next 35 years he generated booms in opera, choral and instrumental playing, and London attracted a wealth of major European composers, Mozart, Chopin and Mahler among them.

The Victorian era saw a proliferation of classical music organisations, beginning with the Philharmonic Society, 1813, and the Royal Academy of Music, 1822, both keenly promoting Beethoven's music. The Royal Albert Hall and the Queen's Hall were key new concert halls, and Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh established major orchestras. Edward Elgar was chief of a raft of English late-Victorian composers; a boom-time which saw the Proms launched in 1895 by Sir Henry Wood, and a rapid increase in conservatoires and orchestras. The "pastoral" English classical style arose, typified by Vaughan Williams, and the new BBC took over the Proms in 1931, founding its own broadcasting orchestra and classical radio station (now Radio 3).

England at last produced a world giant in Benjamin Britten (pictured above), whose protean range spearheaded the postwar establishment of national arts institutions, resulting notably in English National Opera, the Royal Opera and the Aldeburgh Festival. The Arts Desk writers provide a uniquely rich coverage of classical concerts, with overnight reviews and indepth interviews with major performers and composers, from Britain and abroad. Writers include Igor Toronyi-Lalic, David Nice, Edward Seckerson, Alexandra Coghlan, Graham Rickson, Stephen Walsh and Ismene Brown

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