mon 16/09/2019

18th century

Prom 71: Dunedin Consort, Butt review – Bach to the drawing-board please

Blame it on the box set. The four Bach Orchestral Suites fit neatly together as a recording project. They used to fill out the four sides of a double LP back in the early stages of the baroque revival. Completists and collectors could rejoice then,...

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William Dalrymple: The Anarchy review – masterly history of the first rogue corporation

Serious historians don’t much care for counter-factual speculations. Readers, however, often enjoy them. So here’s mine. In 1780, the seemingly invincible forces of the East India Company had suffered a crushing defeat at Pollilur, west of Madras....

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gounod, James MacMillan, Johannes Pramsohler

 Gounod: Symphonies 1 and 2 Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos)Roger Nichols’ lucid sleeve note underlines the point that Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique singularly failed to kick off a 19th century French symphonic...

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2019 - a musical journey through the Périgord

We’ve all had the experience of wandering into a church, only to discover it filled unexpectedly with music: the choir rehearsing for Evensong, a local orchestra practising, a soprano and organist getting ready for a weekend wedding. This spirit of...

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Prom 14: The Creation, BBC Proms Youth Choir, BBC Philharmonic, Wellber - Haydn on the edge

Hello sun, hello great whales, hello choral counterpoint. If there is a more life-enhancing work than Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation, I’ve yet to hear one. Its sheer joie-de-vivre was a felicitous arrival at the Proms, where it really...

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Alder, The Mozartists, Page, Wigmore Hall review - a Mozart feast for eyes and ears

Seven European cities, seven works: from an eight-year-old's First Symphony composed in what is now Ebury Street to the towering concert aria for Josepha Dushchek of Prague's Villa Bertramka, Ian Page's latest Mozart cornucopia took us on a rich and...

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Beecham House, ITV review - a cartoon version of 18th century India

It has become routine to accuse Brexiteers of wanting to bring back the British Empire (though obviously it's OK to run an empire from Brussels), but the charge might more accurately be levelled at ITV. They’ve brought the ratings rolling in with...

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Bauci e Filemone/Orfeo, Classical Opera, QEH review - a star Orpheus is born

All happy 18th century couples are alike, it seems, and that makes for a certain placidity in Gluck's pastoral Bauci e Filomene for the (unhappy) wedding of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma and Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria. All unhappy couples are...

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Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), Brighton Festival 2019 review - a feverishly foul-mouthed musical comedy

Five years ago this Kneehigh Theatre production caused a stir with its vibrant modern retelling of John Gay’s 18th century satirical classic, The Beggar’s Opera. It’s currently on tour again and it’s easy to see why a revival was greenlit. It’s a...

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Henry Moore at Houghton Hall: Nature and Inspiration review - big views bring new light

Placed in a long and artfully Arcadian vista, earthy bronze subdued against verdant grass and trees, the restless form of Henry Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure: Cut, 1979-81 (Main picture), both disrupts and is absorbed by its surroundings. A...

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Semele, Monteverdi Choir, EBS, Gardiner, Alexandra Palace review - Handel's cornucopia lavishly served

Louise Alder, lyric soprano of the moment and vivacity incarnate, had yet to be born when John Eliot Gardiner made his first recording of Handel's Semele with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in 1981. Now they all come together to...

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The Glass Piano, Print Room at The Coronet review – fascinating story undermined by absurdism

Often the greatest works of dramatic absurdism spring from the worst extremes of human experience, whether it’s Ionesco’s Rhinoceros responding to fascism, or Havel’s The Garden Party satirising the irrational cruelties of Prague’s Soviet occupiers...

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