sun 16/05/2021

Classical Reviews

Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sage Gateshead online review – a grab bag of players’ favourites

Bernard Hughes

The Royal Northern Sinfonia handed its players artistic control of the programme for this livestream from the Sage, Gateshead and if the result lacked coherence it certainly had the variety and diversity missing from the Wigmore Hall Nash Ensemble recital I reviewed last month.

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Das Lied von der Erde, Kožená, Staples, LSO, Rattle, Barbican online review - more joy than sorrow

Peter Quantrill

The drunkard in spring; the lonely man in autumn; the long goodbye. Mahler’s last song-cycle often seems to embody solitude; a resigned, earthly counterpart to the transcendent rapture of his previous work, the Eighth Symphony, as a superstitious talisman to ward off the finality of a Ninth.

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Ryedale Spring Festival online review - sowing the seeds of live music

Miranda Heggie

Marking its 40th anniversary, this year’s Ryedale Festival kicked off with an online-only spring series ahead of the main festival later this summer. With any luck, by then, the festival’s rural Yorkshire venues will be filled with people once more, but for now audiences can experience beautiful music made in beautiful places wherever they are at home. 

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Europe Day Concert, St John's Smith Square online review – celebrating in style

Jessica Duchen

We may not be in the EU any more, but geographically and culturally we can celebrate being part of Europe as much as we jolly well like.

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Coote, Philharmonia, Gardiner, Southbank Centre online review - English masterworks

Bernard Hughes

This Philharmonia concert from the Royal Festival Hall comprised three masterworks of English music, following a (welcome) trend that has emerged in COVID-era streamed concerts in digging out a couple of smaller-scale, less often programmed pieces to put alongside a sure-fire hit.

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BBC Young Musician 2020 Finale, BBC Four review - poise versus extraterrestrial ecstasy

David Nice

“You have to be careful you’re not judging the piece,” cautioned a pearl-necklaced Nicholas Daniel, great oboist and winner of the 1980 BBC Young Musician (of the Year, as it then was).

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Booth, Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall online review - contemporary music programme lacks diversity

Bernard Hughes

Wigmore Hall does not dish up a great deal of contemporary music, preferring a menu of mainstream chamber music.

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Connolly, Middleton, Leeds Lieder online review - epic voyage on a luxury vessel

Boyd Tonkin

Some lockdown-era recital programmes have doled out miserly short measures, as performers gallop through a brief, rushed hour (or less) of music as if afraid to tax the online patience of their disembodied audience.

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Brian Elias Focus Day, Concert 1, Wigmore Hall online review - portrait of the artist in miniature

alexandra Coghlan

What comes to mind when you think of Brian Elias? The violence and humming, background threat of The Judas Tree, his score for Kenneth MacMillan’s brutal final ballet...

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Greig, I Fagiolini online review - poetry and music to redeem a damaged world

Bernard Hughes

I Fagiolini do not just do choral concerts. Indeed, director Robert Hollingworth claimed in the pre-concert chat, he finds choral concerts boring.

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