sat 23/03/2019

Classical Reviews

Elīna Garanča, Malcolm Martineau, Wigmore Hall review - towards transcendence

David Nice

It seems an almost indecent luxury to have heard two top mezzos in just over a week with so much to express, backed up by the perfect technique and instrument with which to do so. Georgian Anita Rachvelishvili with Pappano and the Royal Opera Orchestra the Friday before last only had to hold the spell through a Rachmaninov sequence in the middle of an all-Russian concert.

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Ek, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - epics of sea and land

David Nice

British concert audiences now know and love one great Lithuanian, among the most communicative and individual conductors in the world today (note I don't even need to prefix "conductors" with "women").

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Montero, Scottish Ensemble, Kings Place review - new music with a political edge

Bernard Hughes

The Venezuelan pianist and composer Gabriela Montero is an outspoken advocate for political change in her country, using her musical standing as a platform from which to highlight Venezuela’s "hijacking" by "forces of...

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Sarah Chang, Ashley Wass, Cadogan Hall review – a virtuoso's disturbing 'inner game'

Sebastian Scotney

“My first recital in about a gazillion years in London!” wrote Sarah Chang a week ago for her 140,000 Twitter followers. “I usually work with orchestras whenever I'm in town so what an absolute joy+pleasure to be playing a duo program with piano!”

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Monteverdi Vespers, The Sixteen, Christophers, Cadogan Hall review – majesty on a modest scale

Gavin Dixon

The Monteverdi Vespers are usually a grand affair, but Harry Christophers showed they can work just as well on a smaller scale. Cadogan Hall has a dry acoustic, at least compared to St Mark’s Basilica, so there is little opportunity for billowing waves of choral declamation, echoing through the galleries.

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Grosvenor, Doric String Quartet, Milton Court review – a night to remember

Jessica Duchen

Imagine for a moment that you are at, say, the Derby. It’s pretty good. But then in flies Pegasus, the mythical winged horse. What happens?

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Schumann Series 3 & 4, LSO, Gardiner, Barbican review - upstanding brilliance

David Nice

Schumann revitalized by John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra last year left us wanting more: namely two of the four symphonies (transcendently great, as it turns out from these revelatory performances).

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La Damnation de Faust, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - 'concert opera' indeed

Robert Beale

Berlioz called it a "concert opera". His telling of the Faust story is in scenes and highly theatrical, but a bit of a challenge to put on in the theatre, with its marching armies, floating sylphs, dancing will-o’-the-wisps and galloping horses. It seems he expected it to be a kind of giant cantata, and that’s the way the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder perform it.

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Rachvelishvili, ROH Orchestra, Pappano, Royal Opera House review - perfect night and day

David Nice

There's now something of a gala atmosphere when the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House takes to the Covent Garden stage with its music director Antonio Pappano.

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Uchida, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, RFH review - togetherness in light and shade

Boyd Tonkin

When a pianist directs from the keyboard, the result can be a sedate affair: a matter of minimalist time-keeping while the soloist shows his or her fancy moves. Not so with Dame Mitsuko Uchida and her long-term partners, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Clad in a sort of blue magician’s gown over severe black, Uchida – who has just turned 70 – stood to conduct, vigorously, the opening passages of last night’s two Mozart concertos at the Royal Festival Hall.

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