tue 21/05/2019

Classical Reviews

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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The Swingles, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review – austere Stravinsky, luminous Berio

Gavin Dixon

The London Philharmonic’s year-long Stravinsky festival, Changing Faces, concluded here in spectacular style, with a tribute to “The Swingling Sixties”. Vladimir Jurowski, the soon to be leaving – and soon to be much-missed, Principal Conductor of the LPO, devised an adventurous and innovative programme, pairing Stravinsky’s late masterpiece Threni with the contemporaneous Sinfonia of Berio.

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Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall review - conviction and grace

Gavin Dixon

Mitsuko Uchida continues her world tour of Schubert sonatas with two concerts for the home crowd, this the second of her appearances at the Festival Hall.

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Sophie Bevan, Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review - an Alpine blaze

David Nice

With eyes swivelled towards who'll take over from Esa-Pekka Salonen as the Philharmonia's Principal Conductor in 2021, two of the strongest possibilities are to be found within the orchestra's masthead of associates.

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Bostridge, Pappano, Barbican review - a tough but thrilling march across the battlefield

Boyd Tonkin

Seldom has an encore felt so welcome. With Sir Antonio Pappano as his accompanist at the Barbican, Ian Bostridge tugged us through the mill of industrialised slaughter and the psychic devastation it leaves in an ambitious programme of song sequences that evoked “war, and the pity of war”.

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