wed 27/01/2021

Classical Reviews

Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review – wide range of American voices

Bernard Hughes

There’s an old rule in the theatre that you don’t have to go on if there are more people on stage than in the audience.

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Northern Chords Festival, Church of St James and St Basil, Newcastle review - high, lucid and bright

David Nice

Whatever happens next – and even in Tier 3 the Royal Liverpool Phlharmonic goes on playing to carefully distanced audiences – this will be remembered by all participants as a day of dazzling brilliance, its bright autumn light matched by so much of the music in a morning service and four concerts ending nine hours later.

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Brecon Baroque, Podger, Brecon Cathedral online review - Bach recoloured

stephen Walsh

Bach’s Goldberg Variations, written for harpsichord in about 1741 supposedly (or perhaps not) for a certain Johann Goldberg to play to the insomniac Count Keyserlingk, have enjoyed – or suffered – countless arrangements for other instruments, including jazz trio (Jacques Loussier), string trio with electronics, and viol consort.

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City of London Sinfonia, Southwark Cathedral / Kanneh-Masons, Barbican review - soaring teamwork

David Nice

“Live music is back,” runs the Barbican's latest slogan, so treasure it and get out there while you can. Thursday evening in London offered an embarrassment of riches.

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Tasmin Little Farewell Recital, RFH review - memories, tributes and dreams

Jessica Duchen

Bidding farewell to the Royal Festival Hall, Tasmin Little was at the very peak of her powers. It’s almost unthinkable that we will never see her play here again. Many have hoped that she’d be one of those musicians who announce their retirement only to be back for one last time…and another… but Little is a genuine soul who has always said what she means and meant what she says. And she says that that really is that. 

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Allan Clayton, Stephanie Wake-Edwards, James Baillieu, Wigmore Hall review - consummate musicality and technique

alexandra Coghlan

Last seen gurning and camping his way across the Royal Opera House stage in absurdist musical fantasy Frankenstein!!, it was a very different Allan Clayton who held the Wigmore Hall in stillness just a few nights later.

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Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, Sode, Chineke! Orchestra, Edusei, RFH review - protest, passion and joy

Jessica Duchen

During the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London earlier this year, a black man named Patrick Hutchinson hoisted over his shoulder an injured white man from the counter-protest of the English Defence League and carried him to safety. The photographs made headlines.

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London Symphony Orchestra, Hasan, LSO St Luke's review - dances great and small

David Nice

Big orchestras to serve the late romantic masterpieces and contemporary blockbusters still aren’t the order of the Covid-era day, even in streamed events, at least not in the UK.

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Stephen Kovacevich, Wigmore Hall review - a sublime birthday treat

Jessica Duchen

What do you want to do on your 80th birthday? Well, playing two of your favourite pieces of music at the Wigmore Hall is not a bad option. To celebrate his big day, Stephen Kovacevich returned to the scene of many of his triumphs since 1961, chose the Bach Partita No.

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Cooper, Aurora Orchestra, Kings Place review - a heartwarming delight

Bernard Hughes

Rarely have I seen so many smiles on stage as at Kings Place on Saturday. The combination of the delight of the performers being back in their natural environment with the genial and generous-spirited music they were playing brought out the best in everyone.

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