mon 15/04/2024

Classical Reviews

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philharmonia Chorus, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - poetic cello, blazing chorus

David Nice

Purple patches flourished in the first half of this admirable programme: it could hardly have been otherwise given Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s devotion to a new work in his repertoire, and the current strength of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. Even so, it was the culmination, Rachmaninov’s multifaceted “Choral Symphony” The Bells, which truly dazzled.

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Daphnis et Chloé, Tenebrae, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - lighting up Ravel’s ‘choreographic symphony’

David Nice

Antonio Pappano fervently believes that talking about music is a vital part of his communicative art, and nobody does it better. Given that the London Symphony Orchestra's enterprising Half Six Fix format is scheduled for an hour each time, and that Ravel’s complete Daphnis et Chloé lasts almost that long, there wasn’t going to be much room for pre-performance demonstration yesterday evenng, but what we got still hit the mark.

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Goldscheider, Spence, Britten Sinfonia, Milton Court review - heroic evening songs and a jolly horn ramble

David Nice

Milton Court, like its parent Barbican Hall, disconcertingly inflates the sound of larger ensembles and voices. Had there been a conductor for all four pieces in the Britten Sinfonia’s programme - Michael Papadopoulos was there for the two most recent works – the approach might have been more nimble and nuanced. Though Mozart in masterpiece form could have been a gambit to entice warier punters, a fourth British work would have rounded out the overall picture better.

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Marwood, Power, Watkins, Hallé, Adès, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - sonic adventure and luxuriance

Robert Beale

For the second big concert of his “residency” with the Hallé this season, Thomas Adès chose one major piece of his own, rather than a set of shorter ones. Tevot, a 21-minute one-movement work written for the Berlin Philharmonic 18 years ago, requires a huge assembly of performers, so it was probably too good a chance to miss once having taken the decision to do Tippett’s Triple Concerto, which is pretty lavish in that regard, too.

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Elmore String Quartet, Kings Place review - impressive playing from an emerging group

Bernard Hughes

The young Elmore String Quartet, recent graduates of the Royal Northern College, made an impressive Kings Place debut last night with a programme that put music written by composers at a similarly early stage in their careers alongside another’s last work. They played with a subtlety and thoughtfulness that point them up as a group to keep an eye on.

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Gilliver, LSO, Roth, Barbican review - the future is bright

David Nice

It’s hard to know which aspect of this adventure to praise the most. Perhaps the fact that of the four recent works originally programmed, the two freshest were by young beneficiaries of the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme. There was also the pleasure orchestral members took in their colleagues’ playing, not just Rebecca Gilliver’s as soloist. The culminating glory was their response to François-Xavier Roth’s mastery in Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.

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Josefowicz, LPO, Järvi, RFH review - friendly monsters

Boyd Tonkin

At first glance, this looked like an odd coupling: Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto from 1931, all spiky neo-classicism and short-winded expressionist sparkle, as a tributary opening before the mighty rolling stream of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony.

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Cargill, Kantos Chamber Choir, Manchester Camerata, Menezes, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - imagination and star quality

Robert Beale

Brazil-born conductor Simone Menezes, known for imaginative and pioneering concert presentation, presided over a striking and illuminating programme shared by Manchester’s Kantos Chamber Choir and Manchester Camerata, with the star quality of Karen Cargill the icing on the cake.

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St Matthew Passion, Academy of Ancient Music, Cummings, Barbican review - moving and humble

Bernard Hughes

It is Passion season, and Bach’s St John and St Matthew – as well as his less well-known Easter Oratorio – have been well covered on theartsdesk in the last few weeks. Whether with large choir, small choir, or one to a part with no separate chorus, there have been plenty of great performances to be heard this year.

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Bach's Easter Oratorio, OAE, Whelan, QEH review - the joys of springtime

Boyd Tonkin

Waiting, and hoping, may prove just as intense an experience as the fulfilment of a wish – or of a fear. Bach knew that, and infused his Easter Week music with a sense of suspense and anticipation built into vocal and instrumental lines that build and strive and stretch towards a climactic revelation that, until the very end, remains just out of reach. 

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