wed 27/01/2021

Classical Reviews

BBC Proms live online: Viennese Night review - sophisticated pleasures

Richard Bratby

Viennese operetta is like that other great Central European treat, goulash. It comes in many forms. In Vienna it’s coffeehouse comfort food; in Slovenia they add bacon for a smoky tang. And in the marketplaces of Transylvania it comes in bubbling iron cauldrons, practically fluorescent with paprika. But it’s all goulash. You know it when you taste it, and all that matters is that it tastes good.

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BBC Proms live online: Uchida, LSO, Rattle review – eclectic concert makes good TV

Bernard Hughes

Sunday night’s Prom by the London Symphony Orchestra was Simon Rattle’s 75th and surely his strangest.

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BBC Proms live online: Jonathan Scott review - the organ as orchestra

David Nice

“Did you bring any Bach?” was not a question to ask of Jonathan Scott before he launched into his jaw-dropping Prom on the Royal Albert Hall's 1871 Henry Willis organ – the largest in the world at the time. augmented in its 2002-4 overhaul to 9,999 pipes.

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BBC Proms live online: BBC Singers, BBCSO, Oramo review – threnodies to an empty hall

David Nice

So the bubble of reactionary brouhaha over the Last Night of the Proms quickly burst: there can be no argument about singing “Land of Hope and Glory” or “Rule, Britannia!” when they’re to be presented in their original Proms forms (Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.

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BCMG, Heinen, Brindleyplace Birmingham review - from the concrete canyons to the stars

Richard Bratby

Birmingham emerged from musical lockdown with Stockhausen. It couldn’t have been anyone else, really.

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Kaleidoscope Collective, Wigmore Hall online – playing with panache, as if to a live audience

David Nice

If it all comes across as vividly as this on screen, imagine what it would have been like to witness in person. Which quite a few of us very nearly did, until we had to be disinvited owing to changed government guidelines.

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Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy, Bold Tendencies review - visions under the car-park roof

David Nice

Before the not-quite-clear all-clear was given for distanced performances indoors, Bold Tendencies already had the perfect summer solution in the floor space beneath its rooftop terrace in Peckham’s former multi-storey car park.

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Charles Owen, Fidelio Orchestra Café review - high-profile, robust romantics

David Nice

Composer Gian-Carlo Menotti once asked rhetorically what society wanted of performing artists – “the bread of life or the after-dinner mint?” There were a couple of audience members last night – unique in my experience so far of the Fidelio Orchestra Café’s set-up – who clearly wanted pianist Charles Owen’s recital to be the pre-dinner amuse-bouche; one was reading a book from the start, another came...

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The Telephone, Scottish Opera/Cargill, RSNO, Søndergård, Edinburgh International Festival online - human emotions in digital form

Miranda Heggie

Lockdown, perhaps more than any other time, has amplified how modern technology can be both a blessing and a curse. Of course, it’s wonderful to have the means to connect with friends and family scattered across the globe; carry on working, learning, eating, praying etc. with others; and enjoy art in new and innovative ways, such as this particular digital series.

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Louis Schwizgebel, Fidelio Orchestra Café review – gilt-edged postcards from around the world

David Nice

A front-rank pianist only takes on Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in full confidence of being able to handle the massive bells and blazing chants of its grand finale, “The Great Gate of Kiev”. To risk it in a far from large café space adds to the element of danger and excited anticipation.

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