tue 19/02/2019

Classical Features

Best of 2018: Classical concerts

David Nice

Starry times with the big spectaculars really paid off this year, even if the works performed weren't unusual for London. Pappano's latest Verdi Requiem at the Royal Opera was the classiest perfection imaginable, crowned by the phenomenal Lise Davidsen.

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theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

David Nice

Five of Leoš Janáček's 10 operas are staples of the worldwide repertoire. Two I'd never seen on stage, so the slice I chose of the19-day festival devoted to all of them for the second time in the history of Brno, the cultured Moravian capital where he spent most of his life, tended to the rare and local.

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First Person Plural: the Calidore String Quartet on music for their torn nation

Calidore String

Classical musicians spend much of their lives inhabiting the realms of the past. To effectively practise and perform the music of Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and countless others, performers must combine research and personal intuition to time travel into the era of these great composers’ lives.

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Refreshing the sonic spectrum: disability and excellence in British orchestras

Joe Turnbull

Classical music struggles to shrug off the perception of being something of a rarefied world. Or “hermetically sealed” as Charles Hazlewood, founder of the British Paraorchestra describes it. “Classical music has to break out from its ivory tower," says Hazlewood.

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Like a baton out of hell: Conductors at the 2018 Proms

theartsdesk

Discreetly poking his camera through one of the red curtains around the Albert Hall, chief Proms photographer Chris Christodoulou gets the action shots others would kill for.

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theartsdesk at the Suoni dal Golfo Festival - romantics shine in the Bay of Poets

David Nice

If only Liszt had started at the end of his Byron-inspired opera Sardanapalo. The mass immolation of Assyrian concubines might have been something to compare with the end of Wagner's Götterdämmerung. Instead he only sketched out the first act, complete until nearly the end, and the inevitable comparisons with the Wagner of the late 1840s are not unfavourable by any means.

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theartsdesk at the Lucerne Festival - all-Beethoven and all-Ravel concerts from the greatest

David Nice

Like the Proms, but over a more concentrated time-span, in a much better concert hall and with a swankier audience paying a good deal more, the Lucerne Festival offers a summer parade of the world's greatest orchestras and conductors night after night.

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h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: James Bingham on community choirs

James Bingham

Forty thousand choirs in the UK! Choral directors of the UK rejoice. Voices Now have finally published the Big Choral Census. They’ve put hard data to something we knew was true: there are loads of choirs and loads of people who love singing in them. Finally we can present government with solid evidence that meaningful investment into the art form will be money well spent. Surely a cause for celebration? Yes... but not entirely.

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2018 - canaries in front of a Périgord altar

David Nice

Brits are the folk you expect to encounter the most in the rural-England-on-steroids of the beautiful Dordogne. In my experience they outnumber the French, at least in high summer, not just as visitors and retired homeowners but also as artisans selling their wares in Riberac's big Friday market.

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theartsdesk at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music - stratospheric performances by a tropical sea

Jessica Duchen

North of Brisbane, south of Cairns and a short boat trip from the turquoise waters around the Great Barrier Reef, Townsville is the site of a north-east Australian military base.

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