sat 29/01/2022

Classical Reviews

The Gesualdo Six, St Martin-in-the-Fields online review - perfectly polished polyphony

Miranda Heggie

For their concert debut at St Martin-in-the-Fields, The Gesualdo Six brought a programme of English motets for the final instalment in the venue's trio of Easter concerts.

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Hough, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester online review - brassy, bouncy optimism

Robert Beale

Sir Mark Elder is back with the Hallé for the latest (and penultimate) filmed concert in their “Winter Season” of 2020 and 2021, including the world premiere of Huw Watkins' Second Symphony. He introduces it from the Bridgewater Hall foyer, and mentions plans for a six-concert summer series with audiences present in the hall – well, let’s hope so.

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Isserlis, LPO, Elder, Southbank Centre online review – songs of life and death

Boyd Tonkin

The Southbank Centre automatically stuck the trusty “Bohemian Rhapsodies” headline on this London Philharmonic Orchestra concert of Czech music streamed from the still-deserted Royal Festival Hall. Given Janáček’s presence on the bill, they should have made that “Moravian” as well. I know – get a life.

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Benjamin Grosvenor, Barbican online review - black magic and golden-age gorgeousness

Jessica Duchen

I can’t deny that it’s great to be able to experience a recital by Benjamin Grosvenor live from the Barbican despite lockdown, streamed into your own home.

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Castalian Quartet, Stoller Hall, Manchester online review - mercurial playing fits a varied programme

Bernard Hughes

The Polyphonic Concert Club is a collective of musicians – including Isata Kanneh-Mason and I Fagiolini – offering recorded chamber recitals released weekly through March and April.

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Messiah highlights, English National Opera, BBC Two review – short-cut sorrow and redemption

Boyd Tonkin

Well, it wasn’t quite Messiah, but it was a source of joy. In ENO’s end-of-lockdown staging, BBC Two’s transmission of Handel’s resurrection song delivered a scant 54 minutes of music from the Coliseum on Easter Saturday.

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Bach St John Passions from Oxford and Stockholm online review – theatrical drive from Gardiner, interiority under Harding

David Nice

Last Easter, viewing options were limited: no-one who saw it will forget a version of Bach’s St John Passion from the church where it was first performed in 1724, Leipzig’s Thomaskirche, with an idiosyncratic tenor taking all the parts other than the chorales – live from a quintet and streamed in from around the world – and accompanied only by organ/harpsichord and percussion.

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Ibragimova, Davies, Sampson, Arcangelo, Wigmore Hall online review – baroque masterpieces played with verve

Bernard Hughes

The baroque music ensemble Arcangelo have been around since 2010 but I hadn’t heard them before this pair of concerts streamed from Wigmore Hall in the last week. But what I heard has certainly encouraged me to seek out more – and they have quickly built up a large discography ready to be tucked into.

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Tenebrae, Short, Wigmore Hall online review - reflections for Holy Week

Gavin Dixon

A year into the pandemic, it is hard to imagine anybody relishing the prosect of Lenten austerity. But the liturgical calendar trundles on, and here we are in Holy Week. The aptly named Tenebrae Choir, under conductor Nigel Short here offer a traditional Lent programme, mostly solemn but with a few lighter numbers.

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Lewis, Hallé, Thórarinsdóttir online review - serenity and spice

Robert Beale

For the newest performance of their part-postponed “Winter Season” on film, the Hallé return to their rehearsal and performance centre in Ancoats, and with the help of piano soloist-director Paul Lewis and guest leader-director Eva Thórarinsdóttir offer a display of the capability of their orchestra members as chamber musicians.

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