tue 26/03/2019

Classical Reviews

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.

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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?

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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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Hardenberger, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Nelsons, RFH review - new songs for an old glory

Boyd Tonkin

During his quarter-century in charge of the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, the late Kurt Masur nobly held out a musical hand of friendship and collaboration from the other side of the Iron Curtain.

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Two-Piano Marathon, Kings Place review - dazzling duos, deep waters

David Nice

You get a lot of notes for your money in a two-piano recital - especially when seven pianists share the honours for two and a half hours' worth of playing time. Well, they did call it a marathon, crowning the London Piano Festival so shiningly planned by Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen, and the baton passed seamlessly from two pairs of hands to the next.

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BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new conductor’s debut

Robert Beale

Two days after announcing his appointment as their next chief conductor (he takes the reins officially next summer, in time for the Proms), by remarkable good fortune the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic was able to present Omer Meir Wellber as the conductor of their second Bridgewater Hall series concert.

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Anderson & Roe, RLPO, Tali, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool review - measured fire

Glyn Môn Hughes

There must be something of a beauty parade going on in Liverpool now that Vasily Petrenko has called time on his tenure at Philharmonic Hall.  After all, someone will need to step into his shoes from 2021 after he departs for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was refreshing, therefore, to welcome Anu Tali to conduct the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, making her debut with the orchestra.

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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 2, Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review – high drama in 24 short acts

Boyd Tonkin

Bach specialists like to explain that the second book of preludes and fugues in The Well-Tempered Clavier, composed around 1740 and thus almost two decades after the first, draws on more of the fancy and daring “modern” music of its time than its more traditional predecessor. Yes, but there’s modern and there’s modern.

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Katya Apekisheva, Charles Owen, Kings Place review - one plus one equals a hundred

Jessica Duchen

We could probably spend all day pondering what makes a great musical partnership. Is it long experience, special sensitivity, a shared sense of humour? We’d get nowhere, though because there is, genuinely, something about it that can't be explained. It’s like a good marriage: it just works, and if you could analyse precisely why, there’d likely be something wrong.

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Gerald Finley, Julius Drake, Middle Temple Hall review - sublimity in 18 serious songs

David Nice

Earth stood hard as iron in parts of this awe-inspiring recital from a true song partnership, but theirs was an autumnal odyssey, not a winter journey.

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