mon 22/07/2019

Classical Reviews

Ehnes, BBC Philharmonic, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - contrasts from the 1930s

Robert Beale

John Wilson conducted Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester just over a year ago with great success, in a programme of music from the 1940s. This time it was the very different, troubled Fourth, and the context was British composition.

Read more...

JACK Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – superlative Elliott Carter quartets

Gavin Dixon

At Wigmore Hall the JACK Quartet presented the complete Elliott Carter string quartets in a single day – an astonishing feat given the scale and complexity of the music.

Read more...

Voces8, Cadogan Hall review – masterful madrigal singing and more

Bernard Hughes

The vocal octet Voces8, approaching its 15th anniversary, is a purring musical machine: vocally top-notch, precisely and exhaustively rehearsed, imaginative in repertoire and equally at home in Monteverdi and Duke Ellington. And if the classical items grabbed me more than the kitsch swing numbers they ended with, there is no denying the whole concert was put together with panache and musical excellence.

Read more...

Judith, Royal Festival Hall review - a musical curiosity gets a rare airing

alexandra Coghlan

If Gilbert and Sullivan did the Bible it would sound a lot like Hubert Parry’s Judith. Premiered in 1888 and last heard in London a year later, the oratorio – whose principal claim to fame is as the original home of tearjerker hymn tune Repton, better known as “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind – has been lovingly restored to life by conductor William Vann and the English Song Festival, who will record it with Chandos later this year.

Read more...

Bach St John Passion, OAE, Rattle, RFH review – earnest devotions

Peter Quantrill

We live in a secular age, or so we’re told. Yet we seem to need rituals, the age-old practice and province of religion, as much as ever.

Read more...

Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

Richard Bratby

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem.

Read more...

Biss, Philharmonia, Boyd, RFH review – compulsive life-force

Peter Quantrill

Mozart in E flat (the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro) and in G (the K.453 Piano Concerto), and Schubert in C – the “Great” C major Symphony, no less – ushered spring into the Festival Hall on a warm and sunny...

Read more...

Soltani, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – disciplined and dynamic accounts

Gavin Dixon

No successor has yet been named to Vladimir Jurowski as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic, so it is interesting to note that Edward Gardner is making several appearances with the orchestra this season. The two conductors are similar in their dynamic approach and brisk, efficient tempos.

Read more...

Vasari Singers, Backhouse, St Bride’s Fleet Street review - rarely heard choral classic soars

Bernard Hughes

London performances of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir are like Meaningful Votes: you wait a long time for one, then they come in clusters. After last night’s Vasari Singers performance, there is only three weeks till the London Concord Singers put this choral monster in front of the voting public again. It remains to be seen if John Bercow steps in to prevent even more.

Read more...

Bach St John Passion, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican review – sombre but engaging

Gavin Dixon

William Christie kicked off Passion season in London this year with a particularly sombre reading of the St John.

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

Prom 3, CBeebies: A Musical Trip to the Moon review - a cele...

This year’s Proms for children were entitled “Off to the Moon...

Helen Schjerfbeck, Royal Academy review - watchful absences...

Light creeps under the church door. Entering as a slice of burning white, it softens and blues into the stone interior, seeming to make the walls...

Lights, Camera, Malta!, BBC Concert Orchestra, Malta review...

With sapphire blue waters, year-round sun and architecture that spans centuries and cultures, it’s little wonder than Malta is a favourite...

CD: School Of Language - 45

Finding snapshots to characterise Donald Trump’s US...

Prom 2, Bell, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Hrůša review – Boh...

Eighty years ago this summer, Neville Chamberlain’s indifference to the peoples of Czechoslovakia – “a quarrel in a far away country between...

Vic Marks: Original Spin review - trouble in Taunton

In cricket, timing is everything. Played a fraction early and that...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Peter Laughner

“As much as I love New York City, it’s all too obvious that Cleveland is about to become the musical focal point that the Big Apple has been on...

Gossip, SWG3, Glasgow - a reunion tour worth celebrating

If there was a downer during the giddy, gleeful Glasgow stop of Gossip’s recent run of shows, it was only when front...

Making Noise Quietly review - poetic if occasionally preciou...

Robert Holman’s 1986 Bush Theatre play – seen most recently in London at the Donmar Warehouse in 2012 – makes for a beautifully acted curio of a...

Prom 1, BBCSO, Canellakis review - space-age First Night

A new commission, a Romantic tone poem and a choral spectacular – standard fare for the First Night of the...