fri 18/10/2019

Classical Reviews

Ehnes, Hallé, Gabel, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - happy unexpected discoveries

Robert Beale

Changes from the artists originally advertised can bring some happy discoveries. Sir Mark Elder, though present in the audience to hear last night’s Hallé performance at the Bridgewater Hall, was still recovering from surgery and so did not conduct it, as he’d planned to when the season was announced.

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Dariescu, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Simonov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Soviet fear and loathing

Miranda Heggie

It remains some of the most terrifying music ever written. Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony - the composer’s portrayal of the fear and anxiety felt under Stalin's regime - is a horrifyingly brutal musical portrayal of life lived under a totalitarian reign.

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Zauberland, Linbury Theatre review - an adaptation that adds much and gains nothing

alexandra Coghlan

Dichterliebe is a song-cycle full of gaps, silences, absences. Where is the piano at the start of “Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet” when the voice enters first and so startlingly, ungrammatically alone? Where is the voice during the long piano postlude when the vocal line disappears but the singer continues to stand centre-stage? We even seem to join the cycle mid-conversation, unsure what has prompted the diffident, tentative harmonies with which it starts.

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Bevan, The Sixteen, Genesis Sixteen, Christophers, Barbican review - MacMillan transcends again

David Nice

Verdi, Elgar, Janáček, John Adams - just four composers who achieved musical transcendence to religious texts as what convention would label non-believers, and so have no need of the "forgiveness" the Fátima zealots pray for their kind in James MacMillan's The Sun Danced.

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Verdi Requiem, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – beyond the big noise

Boyd Tonkin

You seldom expect to feel the breath of apocalypse and the terror of the grave amid the modestly rationalist architecture and passion-killer acoustics of the Royal Festival Hall.

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Brockes-Passion, Arcangelo, Cohen, Wigmore Hall review – hybrid Handel

Gavin Dixon

Handel’s Brockes-Passion is a curious piece - sacred but not liturgical, and with a strong influence from opera, though it is a concert work. Solo voices predominate, and the singers assembled at Wigmore Hall were mostly fine.

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Cargill, RSNO, Søndergård, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - luscious opening to a rich season

Christopher Lambton

The conductor Thomas Søndergård turned 50 on Friday.

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Leonskaja, Ferchtman, Várdai, Wigmore Hall review - direct line to Schubert's genius

David Nice

From the epic-lyric heaven storming of Beethoven's last three piano sonatas to the lyric-epic dances on the volcano of Schubert's two late piano trios isn't so big a leap, especially when you have the clairvoyant poise between colossal and intimate of the great Elisabeth Leonskaja.

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Fry, AAM, Egarr, Barbican review – revival and revolution

Peter Quantrill

Second performances are even more valuable than premieres, composers say, when it comes to launching a piece into the world. Spare a thought, then, for Jan Ladislav Dussek, who has had to wait over two centuries for this prize to be awarded to his Mass in G – really, a Missa solemnis – of a scale to rival Beethoven’s example.

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Balsom, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - made in Brum

Richard Bratby

There’s nothing like practising what you preach. “I say straight out that I regard all so-called 12-tone music, so-called serial music, so-called electronic music and so-called avant-garde music as utter rubbish, and indeed a deliberate conning of the public” said the composer Ruth Gipps to her biographer Jill Halstead.

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