sat 21/09/2019

Classical Reviews

Bach St John Passion, OAE, Rattle, RFH review – earnest devotions

Peter Quantrill

We live in a secular age, or so we’re told. Yet we seem to need rituals, the age-old practice and province of religion, as much as ever.

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Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

Richard Bratby

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem.

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Biss, Philharmonia, Boyd, RFH review – compulsive life-force

Peter Quantrill

Mozart in E flat (the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro) and in G (the K.453 Piano Concerto), and Schubert in C – the “Great” C major Symphony, no less – ushered spring into the Festival Hall on a warm and sunny...

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Soltani, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – disciplined and dynamic accounts

Gavin Dixon

No successor has yet been named to Vladimir Jurowski as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic, so it is interesting to note that Edward Gardner is making several appearances with the orchestra this season. The two conductors are similar in their dynamic approach and brisk, efficient tempos.

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Vasari Singers, Backhouse, St Bride’s Fleet Street review - rarely heard choral classic soars

Bernard Hughes

London performances of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir are like Meaningful Votes: you wait a long time for one, then they come in clusters. After last night’s Vasari Singers performance, there is only three weeks till the London Concord Singers put this choral monster in front of the voting public again. It remains to be seen if John Bercow steps in to prevent even more.

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Bach St John Passion, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican review – sombre but engaging

Gavin Dixon

William Christie kicked off Passion season in London this year with a particularly sombre reading of the St John.

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Schiff, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, RFH review – antique kit, modern sounds

Boyd Tonkin

Standing next to the warm brown beast of a piano built by Blüthner in Leipzig in 1867, Sir András Schiff advised his audience last night to clear their minds and ears of preconceptions.

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Connolly, Drake, Berrington, Wigmore Hall review – between the acts

Boyd Tonkin

Vary the stale format of the vocal recital and all sorts of new doors open for performers and listeners alike. The only downside, as became clear at the Wigmore Hall last night, is that the audience may hear less of a stellar soloist than they ideally wish.

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Faust, Matthews, LSO, Haitink, Barbican review - glimpses of heaven

David Nice

Vibrant rustic dancing to conclude the first half, a heavenly barcarolle to cast a spell of silence at the end of the second: Bernard Haitink's 90th birthday celebrations of middle-European mastery wrought yet more magic in Dvořák and Mahler after his first concert of Mozart and Bruckner.

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Janine Jansen, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Wigmore Hall review - a totally convincing recital

Sebastian Scotney

Can it happen? That one comes away from a concert with the sense that all of the truth, the shape, the beauty and the urgency of some great works from the classical repertoire has been conveyed as well as is humanly possible? That the programme itself has been a completely satisfying and thought-out whole and has held the attention throughout? Yes, it really can.

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