tue 31/03/2020

1940s

Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All, Netflix review - epic two-parter on pop's first superstar

Coming in at around four hours, in two parts, this 2015 documentary is ostensibly about Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, but really, via the prism of his existence, it’s as much about America’s journey through the first two thirds of the 20th century....

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Anderszewski, CBSO, Wellber, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - grandeur in restraint

No orchestra wants its conductor to cancel in the week of a concert. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s illness was announced only on Monday, but even in ideal conditions, if you needed to find a last minute replacement maestro for a programme of Bartók and...

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Bill Brandt/Henry Moore, The Hepworth Wakefield review - a matter of perception

Bill Brandt’s photographs and Henry Moore’s studies of people sheltering underground during the Blitz (September 1940 to May 1941) offer glimpses of a world that is, thankfully, lost to us. A year and a half after the end of the bombing...

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Blu-ray: Black Angel

Waking at a pivotal moment in Black Angel, alcoholic songwriter-pianist Marty Blair (Dan Duryea) momentarily mistakes his new professional partner Catherine Bennett (June Vincent) for his estranged wife Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling). Each is a...

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Belsen: Our Story, BBC Two review - inside the unfathomable horror of the Holocaust

The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz reminds us once again of the unfathomable horror of the Holocaust. The revival of anti-semitism in our own country and elsewhere is why it’s worth telling these terrible stories again and again....

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Oriole Ensemble, Conway Hall review - sublimely peculiar chamber music

When I reviewed the Philharmonia’s Weimar season last year I expressed a hope to hear more Hindemith performed in London. When, also last year, I reviewed chamber music at Conway Hall I looked forward to my next visit. So a Conway Hall programme...

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Street Scene, Opera North review - a true ensemble achievement

Kurt Weill’s “Broadway opera” – his own preferred description – is an extraordinary and brilliant piece of work. Its music ranges from the seriously dramatic to fun numbers like the "Ice Cream Sextet" and the jitterbug dance song “Moon Faced, Starry...

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Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945. The side of a "Grimes bus" today would probably proclaim over...

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Wallfisch, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - Weinberg UK premiere

Everyone’s doing Weinberg now, or so it seems. The Polish-born composer who became a close friend of Shostakovich was born 100 years ago, and there’s plenty of his music to go round. Raphael Wallfisch gave the UK premiere of his Cello...

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The Irishman review - mobster masterclass

Much has been made of Martin Scorsese’s recent dismissal of Marvel films. Putting that debate aside, there’s no escaping the fact that in an era of rapid-fire sequels, with the same ensembles trotted out year after year, there’s far more ...

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Werewolf review - post-Holocaust horrors

There used to be this myth that we knew nothing about the concentration camps until the victors opened their gates in 1945, and that the survivors were then nursed back to health. The Russians put out newsreels filmed weeks later of nurses tending...

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Balsom, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - made in Brum

There’s nothing like practising what you preach. “I say straight out that I regard all so-called 12-tone music, so-called serial music, so-called electronic music and so-called avant-garde music as utter rubbish, and indeed a deliberate conning of...

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