sat 23/03/2019

Classical Reviews

Car, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Milton Court review - a rattlebag of happy collaborations

David Nice

Presenting the last Mozart symphonies as a three-act opera for orchestra, as Richard Tognetti and his febrile fellow Australians did on Monday, was always going to be a supreme challenge. It worked, as Boyd Tonkin reported here.


Verdi's Requiem, Royal Opera, Pappano review - all that heaven allows

David Nice

Here it comes - get a grip. The tears have started flowing in the trio "Quid sum miser" and 12 minutes later, as the tenor embarks on his "Ingemisco" solo, you have to stop the shakes turning into noisy sobbing. The composer then lets you off the hook for a bit, but only transcendent beauty in singing and playing can achieve quite this effect in Verdi's Requiem.


Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Milton Court review - brilliantly hyper-active Mozart

Boyd Tonkin

Think Glastonbury, not Salzburg. It struck me at Milton Court last night that the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s ebullient, rock’n’roll Mozart would go down a storm at the sort of music festival renowned for canvas more than canapes.


Lawson, London Sinfonietta, Kings Place Review – diverse explorations of time

Gavin Dixon

Kings Place takes a broad and "curated" approach to season programming, and events often have to fit into very nebulous and abstract themes. This concert by the London Sinfonietta was part of a strand called "Time Unwrapped" and sought to explore the role of time in music.


The Triumph of Time and Truth, Higginbottom, Kings Place review – time well spent, despite the words

Boyd Tonkin

You can always depend on Handel to turn verbal dross into musical gold. The chasm between lumbering doggerel and soaring sound can seldom have yawned wider, though, that in several numbers from the third, English version of The Triumph of Time and Truth. “Melancholy is a folly, Wave all sorrow until tomorrow,” poor Mhairi Lawson had to sing, like some game trouper in a village panto scripted by the vicar after one too many cream sherries.


Fröst, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - blood, sweat and sweetness

David Nice

Single adjectives by way of description always sell masterpieces short, and especially the ambiguous symphonies forged in blood, sweat and tears during the Stalin years.


CBSO, Leleux, Birmingham Town Hall review - oboe extraordinaire

Richard Bratby

There’s always a special atmosphere when the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra returns to Birmingham Town Hall, and it’s not just because of the building’s Greek Revival beauty: the gilded sunburst on the ceiling, or the towering, intricately painted mass of the organ, topped with its cameo of Queen Victoria.


Hallé, Gardner, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – drama and humanity

Robert Beale

Edward Gardner was back amongst friends when he opened the Hallé’s Thursday series concerts. This was the place where he made his mark, as the Manchester orchestra’s first ever assistant conductor (and Youth Orchestra music director), and he’s been a welcome visitor ever since.


The Music of Harry Potter, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - orchestral wizardry

Richard Bratby

Imagine an orchestral concert made up exclusively of contemporary works by living composers: a programme in which every note was written within the last two decades. Imagine not only that this concert is sufficiently popular to fill a 2,000-seat hall with a noticeably youthful and diverse crowd, but that its format is already being replicated regularly by pretty much every major UK symphony orchestra. Now ask yourself how much critical attention such a concert would receive?


Opolais, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Nelsons, RFH review - splendid and awful stretches

David Nice

Latvia is fighting fit. The recent elections did not see the expected victory for the pro-Kremlin Harmony party; support for the European Union and NATO will be well represented.



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