tue 07/12/2021

Classical Reviews

Dmitri Alexeev and Friends, St John's Smith Square review - an almost breathless brio

David Nice

As part of a concert series devoted to the memory of a great pianist and teacher, Georgian-born Dmitri Bashkirov, Russian legends Dmitri Alexeev and Nikolai Demidenko were to have reunited in a two-piano spectacular (I well remember their Wigmore Hall recital when hands flew so fast over the keyboard that the poor page-turner went into panic mode).

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Baeva, Ulster Orchestra, Rustioni, Ulster Hall, Belfast review - magic from an Italian star conductor

Ian Julier

At last! The eagerly awaited first opportunity in the new 2021-22 Belfast concert season to catch up with the Ulster Orchestra’s Chief Conductor, Daniele Rustioni has arrived.

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Dennis, SCO, Whelan, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh review - period touches and classical sparkle

Simon Thompson

Peter Whelan is best known to Scottish audiences from his years of service as principal bassoon in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

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Williams, City of London Sinfonia, Southwark Cathedral review - a British Isles cornucopia

David Nice

A year ago, the City of London Sinfonia’s quietly different concerts in Southwark Cathedral were a lifeline in the twilight of semi-lockdown; I’ll never forget how we treasured the last, on 17 November, knowing that everything would be closed again the following day for at least a month (there was a brief intermission, then darkness again until this May).

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Monteverdi Vespers, La Nuova Musica, Bates, Wigmore Hall review - small venue, huge impact

Boyd Tonkin

I last heard Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, published in 1610, at Garsington Opera as the summer light of the Chilterns slowly dimmed across an airy auditorium dotted with singers who bathed us in scintillating meteor-showers of sound. Laden with spectacle, surprise and virtuosity, this piece was born in splendour.

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Delepelaire, RSNO, Søndergård, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - festive and magical

Christopher Lambton

“What a lovely sound that was!” declared Music Director Thomas Søndergård, bounding onto the podium of the Usher Hall. He was referring, of course, to the warm applause greeting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on its first full outing in front of an Edinburgh audience in nigh on 18 months.

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CBSO Quartet, Hockley Social Club, Birmingham review - unveiling of innovative new partnership

Miranda Heggie

Kicking off a brand new partnership between the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Hockley Social Club, this first ever Symphonic Session saw a string quartet from the CBSO take centre stage at Birmingham’s latest street-food venue, Hockley Social Club, on Thursday evening.

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Van der Heijden, Hallé, New, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - rising to challenges

Robert Beale

The youthful New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New and British cellist Laura van der Heijden between them set the Hallé quite a challenge at this concert.

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Colin Currie Group, RFH review - Reich premiere explores fresh territory

Bernard Hughes

Single-composer programmes can be a bit dicey and there was a bit of trepidation approaching this one as Steve Reich is not a composer of massive range: he has been diligently tilling the same patch of soil since the 1970s.

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Clements Prize, Conway Hall review - newly-written string trios in competition

Bernard Hughes

The Conway Hall in London has hosted chamber music concerts since it was built in 1929, and for 40 years this included a composition prize, in abeyance since the late 1970s. This has now been revived by the hall’s enterprising director of music, pianist Simon Callaghan, to help young composers post-pandemic. Sunday night saw the final concert in which the shortlisted pieces were played and the winner announced.

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