wed 20/03/2019

Classical Reviews

LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - Bartók dances, Bruckner sings

Gavin Dixon

Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony: few other conductors could get away with programming two such monolithic works, but Simon Rattle has a lightness of touch that can leaven even...

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Fibonacci Sequence, Conway Hall review - characterful chamber music for winds

Bernard Hughes

Most classical concert reviews focus on prominent orchestras and opera companies at major venues. But beyond the likes of the Barbican and the Royal Opera House, there are whole strata of musical life where smaller scale ensembles and amateur choirs provide a vital live music experience in less exalted venues.

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Mutter, Vengerov, Argerich, Oxford Philharmonic, Papadopoulos, Barbican review - a birthday banquet

Boyd Tonkin

When three of the planet’s starriest soloists take the time to celebrate the anniversary of a young, non-metropolitan orchestra, it may seem perverse to leave the hall entranced most by the one work in which the illustrious trio played no part.

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Hannigan, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - the sublime and the beautiful

Boyd Tonkin

With the London Symphony Orchestra often playing like some commanding and relentless force of nature, Sir Simon Rattle steered two mighty avalanches of Nordic sound into a concert of granitic authority last night.

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Ed Vulliamy: When Words Fail review - the band plays on

David Nice

If you're seeking ideas for new playlists and diverse suggestions for reading - and when better to look than at this time of year? - then beware: you may be overwhelmed by the infectious enthusiasms of Ed Vulliamy, hyper-journalist, witness-bearer, true Mensch and member of the first band to spit in public (as far as he can tell).

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Alice Coote, Christian Blackshaw, Wigmore Hall review – deep feeling and high drama

Boyd Tonkin

In the recital world, so it sometimes seems, no good deed ever goes unpunished. Like Ian Bostridge (another singer who tries to reinvigorate an often rigid format), Alice Coote often has to fend off brickbats whenever she inject the drama of new ideas into the hallowed rituals of the concert hall.

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L'enfance du Christ, BBCSO, Gardner, Barbican review - Berlioz's kindest wonder

David Nice

Like the fountains that sprang up in the desert during the Holy Family's flight into Egypt - according to a charming episode in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew - Berlioz's new-found creativity in the 1850s flowed from a couple of bars of organ music he inscribed in a friend's visitors book.

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Mahan Esfahani / Richard Goode, Wigmore Hall review - clarity and contrast from two keyboard masters

Sebastian Scotney

Two successive nights, two contrasted solo keyboard recitals at the Wigmore Hall: not great for the knees but marvellous for the soul.

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Epiphoni Consort, Reader, St Paul's Covent Garden review - historical drama with seasonal spirit

Bernard Hughes

Like a supermarket "Christmas Dinner" sandwich, cramming the delights of a full festive lunch into every bite, Epiphoni Consort’s The Christmas Truce was at once historical play, choral concert and carol service, and so wonderfully enjoyable I didn’t want it to end.

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Thomas Adès, Wigmore Hall review - playful and erratic Janáček

Gavin Dixon

Janáček has been an abiding passion for Thomas Adès. As both composer and performer, Adès revels in the whimsical and the absurd, and he finds both in Janáček’s piano works.

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