sat 15/12/2018

Classical Reviews

Thomas Adès, Wigmore Hall review - playful and erratic Janáček

Gavin Dixon

Janáček has been an abiding passion for Thomas Adès. As both composer and performer, Adès revels in the whimsical and the absurd, and he finds both in Janáček’s piano works.

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The Swingles, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review – austere Stravinsky, luminous Berio

Gavin Dixon

The London Philharmonic’s year-long Stravinsky festival, Changing Faces, concluded here in spectacular style, with a tribute to “The Swingling Sixties”. Vladimir Jurowski, the soon to be leaving – and soon to be much-missed, Principal Conductor of the LPO, devised an adventurous and innovative programme, pairing Stravinsky’s late masterpiece Threni with the contemporaneous Sinfonia of Berio.

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Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall review - conviction and grace

Gavin Dixon

Mitsuko Uchida continues her world tour of Schubert sonatas with two concerts for the home crowd, this the second of her appearances at the Festival Hall.

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Sophie Bevan, Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review - an Alpine blaze

David Nice

With eyes swivelled towards who'll take over from Esa-Pekka Salonen as the Philharmonia's Principal Conductor in 2021, two of the strongest possibilities are to be found within the orchestra's masthead of associates.

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Bostridge, Pappano, Barbican review - a tough but thrilling march across the battlefield

Boyd Tonkin

Seldom has an encore felt so welcome. With Sir Antonio Pappano as his accompanist at the Barbican, Ian Bostridge tugged us through the mill of industrialised slaughter and the psychic devastation it leaves in an ambitious programme of song sequences that evoked “war, and the pity of war”.

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Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – three iconic works

Robert Beale

At first sight, performing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring – premiered in 1913 and sometimes seen as presaging the whole world of modernism – in the centenary year of the 1918 Armistice might seem to be lagging behind in timing (if centenaries float your boat).

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theartsdesk in Warsaw - Penderecki at 85

Gavin Dixon

Krzysztof Penderecki is the elder statesman of Polish music, and celebrations for his 85th birthday in Warsaw were suitably grand.

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CBSO, Kremerata Baltica, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - numb laments and life after death

David Nice

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's latest dynamo of a music director and communication incarnate, doesn't believe in taking it easy.

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Iestyn Davies, Aurora Orchestra, Kings Place review - arresting musical miscellany

Bernard Hughes

Not really a song recital, nor a chamber music programme, this musical grab bag definitely was definitely popular. The programme of predominantly recent music was sold out weeks ahead. The notably younger-than-usual audience received it enthusiastically, and rightly so.

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The English Concert, Bicket, Wigmore Hall review – small-scale Bach

Gavin Dixon

It’s Christmas already at Wigmore Hall. Or advent at least – this concert of Bach Advent cantatas was presented by the English Concert without apology or qualification, despite it still being the middle of November.

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