sun 17/11/2019

Classical Reviews

Clara Mouriz, Roderick Williams, Joseph Middleton, Wigmore Hall review - the song recital as mixtape

Sebastian Scotney

It’s the age of the mixtape. And of the Only Connect sequences round.

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review – a brace of souped-up symphonies

Peter Quantrill

It’s a fair bet that more people now know Harmonielehre as the title of the 1985 orchestral blockbuster by John Adams than the composition manual written by Schoenberg in 1922. Even the title is “typically, ironically John”, as Sir Simon Rattle remarked in a pre-concert interview introducing the YouTube film of the concert. The piece has swallowed up its object of parody.

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I Fagiolini, Hollingworth, St George's Bristol review - Leonardo and music, immortal, invisible

stephen Walsh

Having started their tour at the Barbican on Sunday, I Fagiolini descended on Bristol with their Leonardo da Vinci celebration on precisely the 500th anniversary of the great man’s death, a fact that earned them an extra round of applause from the proud but sometimes neglected Bristolians in St.George’s. 

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Bronfman, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - weight and wit

David Nice

Vladimir Jurowski is always a conductor for making connections, so one wonders why Brahms's Second Piano Concerto wasn't the first-half choice in this programme from the start (the advertised original had been the much stormier No 1).

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Benedetti, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - Elgar challenges, Dvořák soothes

Gavin Dixon

Among the greatest violin concertos in the repertoire, the Elgar is far too rarely performed.

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CBSO, Volkov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Mahler goes Bauhaus

Richard Bratby

Just over a decade ago it was predicted by those supposedly in the know that Ilan Volkov would succeed Sakari Oramo as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In the event, the gig went to Andris Nelsons, and it was probably for the best.

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Mitten wir im Leben sind, De Keersmaeker, Queyras, Rosas, Sadler's Wells review - Bach-worthy genius

David Nice

All Bach is dance, a teacher once told me. The justifiable exaggeration switched on a light; leaping to the Brandenburg Concertos followed. This great work of kinetic art is of a different order.

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Brockes-Passion, AAM, Egarr, Barbican review - fleshly Handel for our earthbound times

alexandra Coghlan

Whips, scourges, sinews, blood and pus: where Bach’s two Passions lament from a contemplative distance, Handel’s plunges right to the bone, to the cruel, tortured death that is the heart of the Easter story.

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St Matthew Passion, Ex Cathedra, Skidmore, Symphony Hall Birmingham - powerful, poignant Bach

Miranda Heggie

For the final instalment of their three Matthew Passions this Holy Week, Ex Cathedra gave a large scale performance of Bach’s oratorio in their home town on Birmingham, after dates with lesser forces in London and Bristol.

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Javier Perianes, QEH review - not a Spanish fire-eater but a world-class poet

David Nice

Expect no cliches about toreador pianism. Red-earth flamboyance is not Javier Perianes' style, and the seven dances he offered in his programme - eight including an encore - by fellow Spaniard Manuel de Falla were not the most consistently engaging part of the recital.

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