wed 27/01/2021

Classical Reviews

Zimerman, LSO, Rattle, LSO St Luke's review - rainbow colours, continuity and imperial soaring

David Nice

Adaptability backed up by funding has been the course of the most successful musical organisations since mid-March – but it’s been especially tough from November onwards.

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Iestyn Davies, Arcangelo, Wigmore Hall review - heavenly Handel as the lights dim again

Boyd Tonkin

Just before the doors closed again on live audiences at the Wigmore Hall, Iestyn Davies and members of the Arcangelo ensemble celebrated the private side of a very public composer. The peerless counter-tenor, whose powerfully polished command of phrase and line makes this music feel as natural and necessary as breathing, sang Handel’s nine German-language arias to pious texts by Bartold Heinrich Brockes (who also wrote the words to the “Brockes Passion”).

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Voces8 LIVE from London online review - a cracking choral Christmas

Bernard Hughes

Voces8 are the Rolls-Royce of British a cappella ensembles and their LIVE From London - Christmas online festival is the Rolls-Royce of online festivals.

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Gabriele Carcano, Fidelio Orchestra Cafe - fresh, funny and focused Beethoven

David Nice

Perhaps it’s just the conventional mind which celebrates the pathos, tragedy and triumph in Beethoven’s music at the expense of his humour. And that’s the one aspect of the composer which has been a constant revelation – to me, at any rate – in his anniversary year. Too often the laughs have been solitary, listening to CDs or watching online.

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Fidelio, Opera North online review - less is really more

Robert Beale

Adaptability is the name of the game for big companies in the music business now. And Opera North’s streamed presentation of Beethoven's Fidelio from inside Leeds Town Hall is a prime example of just how adaptable things need to be.

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Osborne, Aurora Orchestra, Kings Place review – live music that lives and breathes

Bernard Hughes

Like a hokey-cokey, we’re back to live music in London – but for how long? I overheard another audience member explaining it was her third time at Kings Place this week, as people cram in as many concerts as possible before a feared return to cultural lockdown.

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Kanneh-Mason Trio/Cassadó Ensemble, Kings Place review - the fewer the players, the greater the music

David Nice

For the performers and the venue there can be nothing but praise. To be back in Kings Place’s Hall One after so long was to realise afresh that no other London venue gives such air to soaring strings – and these ones truly did soar and gleam. For the programme, not quite so much.

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Williams, Hallé, Elder online review - big results from small forces

Robert Beale

The second of the Hallé’s Winter Season concerts-on-film is scarcely less ground-breaking than the first. But this time we are in the orchestra’s second home, the former church now extended to be Hallé St Peter’s in the regenerated part of Manchester's city centre.

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Higham, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Emelyanychev online review - I should rococo

Bernard Hughes

Although this streamed concert from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra featured the music of Schubert and Tchaikovsky, the ghost at the feast was Mozart, the acknowledged inspiration behind the two main pieces.

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Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review – Classical consolations

Peter Quantrill

The key of C minor threw a dark shadow over music long before it became the tonality for Beethoven to express the struggle of one against many in the Fifth Symphony and the Third Piano Concerto.

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