wed 08/12/2021

Classical Reviews

Elisabeth Leonskaja / Goldmund Quartet, Edinburgh International Festival review - established and emerging stars shine bright

Miranda Heggie

A gem in Edinburgh International Festival’s classical music programming has always been the Queen’s Hall series.

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Baker, Chineke! Orchestra, Eddins, Edinburgh International Festival review - women's stories told by women

Miranda Heggie

The Edinburgh International Festival has returned this year, with a programme of socially distanced events held almost completely outdoors.

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Esfahani, Gibson, Manchester Collective, BBC Proms review – variety, but not always in proportion

Bernard Hughes

I was looking forward to this Prom by the Manchester Collective, an exciting young group founded in 2016, which has quickly established a reputation for innovative presentation of contemporary repertoire.

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Voces8 Live from London Summer online review - choral excellence and more besides

Bernard Hughes

There is much to love about the latest Voces8 Live from London online festival. It goes beyond having a purely choral line-up, embracing instrumental music for the first time, while maintaining its focus on vocal performances of the highest standard.

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Ólafsson, Philharmonia, Järvi, BBC Proms review - a ravishing Proms debut

alexandra Coghlan

What does it mean to be Classical? It’s the question award-winning Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has consistently asked in a career that has collided music from Bach to Debussy, presenting them as part of a single conversation and continuum.

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Isserlis, LPO, Jurowski, BBC Proms review - a final hand full of aces

Boyd Tonkin

We finished with a pure Hollywood moment when John Gilhooly – as Chair of the Royal Philharmonic Society – popped up after the warm applause to announce that the Society had awarded its gold medal to Vladimir Jurowski. Oddly, Covid rules meant that the actual handover took place backstage.

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Kolesnikov, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, BBC Proms review - dazzling musicianship and insight

alexandra Coghlan

It’s nobody’s fault, but – try as they might – the BBC Proms can often feel rather middle-aged. Whether it’s the lumbering albatross of a building, the ushers in their dated, casino waistcoats or the tone of zealous jollity (Have fun! But silently and according to the rules!), it somehow all adds up to a lack of freshness, spontaneity. Thank goodness for Aurora Orchestra.

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Brahms Piano Concertos, Tsoy, Philharmonia, Emelyanychev, Bold Tendencies - rich epic mastery in concrete surroundings

David Nice

To excel at one massive Brahms piano concerto in a standard concert hall is cause enough for celebration. To master two over one evening in a very unorthodox space – namely, below the roof of Peckham’s former multi-storey car park – brings the performer close to recreative genius.

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BBCNOW, Bancroft, BBC Proms review – American music from across the spectrum

Bernard Hughes

In this most atypical Proms season this was actually an archetypal Proms programme: a world premiere: a neglected masterpiece and a good solid 19th-century symphony for those put off a bit by the first two. But this American-themed programme never felt run of the mill.

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Benedetti, National Youth Orchestra, Heyward, BBC Proms review – stirring sounds of change

Boyd Tonkin

In a normal year, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain descends mob-handed on the Royal Albert Hall for a Prom that complements the sheer quality of the young musicians’ work with joyful, raucous, roof-raising quantity. I recall a Turangalîla symphony in the other Olympic season of 2012 that rocked all Kensington with its heaven-storming, gold-medal exuberance.

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