sat 30/05/2020

Classical Reviews

Beethoven Discovery Day, Batiashvili, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review – reassessing a rarity

Gavin Dixon

#Beethoven250 is in full swing at the Barbican. Like most venues, they are keen to show a different side to the composer in his jubilee year. And the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives ticks all sorts of anniversary boxes.

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Mahler's Eighth, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - a symphony of 600

Richard Bratby

“Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound” wrote Gustav Mahler of his Eighth Symphony. “There are no longer human voices, but planets and suns revolving.” It’s an image that captures the impossible scale and mind-boggling ambition of this so called “Symphony of a Thousand”.

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Currie, Jordan, NCO, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - major marimba music

Robert Beale

Finding one piece for marimba soloist and string orchestra would tax the powers of many concert planners, never mind coming up with two, so the Northern Chamber Orchestra is to be congratulated on its first Manchester performance of 2020 – especially since they found two concerto-style works from almost the same point in ...

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Watkins, Clayton, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - a rainbow cornucopia

David Nice

Horns fanfared, coasted and chorused through yet another Philharmonia winner of a concert to match the impressive planning of its Weimar season last year and no doubt a plan close to the heart of principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who started his musical life as a horn-player.

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Elisabeth Leonskaja, Wigmore Hall review - pure musical essence

David Nice

"What is it about Mozart?" asked Sviatoslav Richter in 1982. "Is there a pianist alive who really manages to play him well?...Haydn is infinitely less difficult to play (he's almost easy, in fact).

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Röschmann, LSO, Rattle, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - passion with precision

Miranda Heggie

Alongside the heartfelt tenderness, there is an emotional weight - as well as a compositional sophistication - prevalent in Alban Berg’s Seven Early Songs. Perhaps this correctly discloses the word "early" as pertaining to the composer’s journey as an artist, as opposed to his lived years.

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Gautier Capuçon, Yuja Wang, Barbican review - spellbinding moments in circumscribed programme

David Nice

Why go to hear a cello-and-piano recital in a large hall, and a rather unsatisfying programme (delayed without explanation for 15 minutes, incidentally) spotlighting a transcription of a work which was created for the violin?

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Kanneh-Mason, LMP, Martín, Fairfield Halls review – modest mastery on show

Peter Quantrill

The soap-opera saga of the House of Windsor may not have been what the executive director of the London Mozart Players had in mind when she announced from the stage that Sheku Kanneh-Mason “is completely relevant for us”.

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Bowers-Broadbent, Theatre of Voices, Kings Place - grit needed in the oyster

David Nice

Not everyone who flocked to Day Two's evening concert in Kings Place's year-long Nature Unwrapped: Sounds of Life celebrations will have realised that they were catching parts two and three of a trilogy.

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Ibragimova, LSO, Stutzmann, Barbican review – grace and gravity

Boyd Tonkin

Alina Ibragimova’s solo journey (in 2015) through the peaks and abysses of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas gave me vivid Proms memories to treasure for a lifetime. The Russian-born violinist’s Bach abounds in both majesty and tenderness, as well as a consuming fire of intensity when the music so demands. She brought something of the same quality to her performance last night of Mendelssohn’s E minor concerto at the Barbican.

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