wed 01/02/2023

19th century

Gerhardt, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - calm and clear conducting

Ben Gernon’s calm and clear way of conducting an orchestra (something he once told me he’d observed in the work of his mentor, Colin Davis) is good to watch and, I would guess, welcomed by those he directs. Since his time with the BBC...

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Benedetti, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - essays in transparency

Nicola Benedetti and Sir Mark Elder are both in the enviable position of being able to take audiences with them into music territory that might scare some away. So it was a gratifyingly near-capacity house that heard Szymanowski’s Second Violin...

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The Pale Blue Eye review - telltale hearts

Edgar Allan Poe fathered the detective genre as well as a school of Gothic horror, and Scott Cooper’s adaptation of Louis Bayard’s 1830-set novel acts as an origin story for the author and the whodunnit.Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) is the...

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Newsies, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre review - bombastic musical let down by its songs

What do you mean you haven’t heard of the newsboys’ strike of 1899? It’s a classic David and Goliath story: a group of New York kids selling newspapers for Joseph Pulitzer (him of the prize), who take a stand when their boss tries to charge them 20...

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Hewitt, Hallé, Schuldt, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - lightening the gloom

If there was a certain doom-laden dimension to Clemens Schuldt’s Bridgewater Hall programme with the Hallé ( … Requiem … Mozart in D minor … Strauss describing Death and …), it was easily lightened by the conductor’s own approach and personality....

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1899, Netflix review - Atlantic voyage turns into cosmic nightmare

Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese won delirious acclaim for their previous Netflix series Dark, a labyrinthine and fantastical account of children vanishing from a small German town. Anyone familiar with its baffling events and leaps across different...

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A Christmas Carol, RSC, Stratford review - family show eases back the terror and winds up the politics

Life is full of coincidences and contradictions. As I was walking to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was on his feet in the House of Commons delivering yet another rebalancing of individual and collective resources. On...

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Pioro, Julien-Laferrière, BBC Philharmonic, Schwarz, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - joy on a Saturday night

This was at first sight a somewhat ordinary looking programme for the BBC Philharmonic: Beethoven, Brahms … even Stravinsky doesn’t frighten a Saturday night audience in Manchester these days. They come for a good night out and quite a lot...

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The English, BBC Two review - Emily Blunt's date with destiny on the prairies

Writer and director Hugo Blick isn’t afraid of getting stuck into some knotty and morally complicated issues, whether it’s Middle Eastern politics (The Honourable Woman) or the Rwandan genocide (Black Earth Rising), but perhaps he wouldn’t be your...

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William Boyd: The Romantic review - historical soap opera, anyone?

Writing in the Edinburgh Review in 1814, Francis Jeffrey began his review of Wordsworth’s The Excursion with a provocative denunciation of romanticism: “This will never do,” he complained. “It bears no doubt the stamp of the author’s heart and fancy...

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Kolesnikov, Hallé, Elder, Manchester review - commanding Smetana, Rachmaninov and Strauss

As Sir Mark Elder begins his penultimate season as music director of the Hallé, it’s clear that his command of, and communication with, the orchestra are as complete and purpose-driven as ever. It’s the first Thursday series concert of the new...

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Winslow Homer: Force of Nature, National Gallery review - dump the symbolism and enjoy the drama

Across the pond Winslow Homer is a household name; in his day, he was regarded as the greatest living American painter. He was renowned especially for his seascapes and his most famous painting, The Gulf Stream, 1899/1906 (main picture) features in...

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