mon 22/07/2019

20th century

Williams, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall Manchester review - vision before gloom

The BBC Philharmonic have given memorable accounts of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4 in Manchester before – notably conducted by Günther Herbig in 2010 and by John Storgårds in 2014 – but surely none as harrowingly grim as under Mark Wigglesworth this...

Read more...

Blu-ray: The Best of British Transport Films

The British Transport Commission was created in 1948 by the Atlee government, an ambitious attempt to organise rail, road and water transport under a single unwieldy umbrella (for a time it was the world’s largest employer, with a staff of over 900,...

Read more...

The Lehman Trilogy, Piccadilly Theatre review - stunning chronicle of determination and dollars

Mammon and Yahweh are the presiding deities over an epic enterprise that tells the story not just of three brothers who founded a bank but of modern America. Virgil asked his Muse to sing of ‘arms and the man’, yet here the theme becomes that of ‘...

Read more...

Death of a Salesman, Young Vic review - new-minted revival of a masterpiece

The Young Vic, a welcoming theatre with a culturally diverse audience, has been home to memorable Miller revivals before, notably Ivo van Hove's emotionally shattering, stripped-back A View From the Bridge in 2014. But before that, in the 1980s and...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

CBSO, Volkov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Mahler goes Bauhaus

Just over a decade ago it was predicted by those supposedly in the know that Ilan Volkov would succeed Sakari Oramo as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In the event, the gig went to Andris Nelsons, and it was probably for...

Read more...

Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now, Gagosian Gallery review - old master, new ways

What are we to make of the two circles dustily inscribed in the background of Rembrandt’s c.1665 self-portrait? In a painting that bears the fruits of a life’s experience, drawn freehand, they might be a display of artistic virtuosity, or – more...

Read more...

Edvard Munch: Love and Angst, British Museum review - compassion in the age of anxiety

Munch’s The Scream is as piercing as it has ever been, and its silence does nothing to lessen its viscerally devastating effect. It was painted in 1893, but it was a lithograph produced two years later – now the star of the biggest UK exhibition of...

Read more...

Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain review - tenuous but still persuasive

Soon after his death, Van Gogh’s reputation as a tragic genius was secured. Little has changed in the meantime, and he has continued to be understood as fatally unbalanced, ruled by instinct not intellect. Van Gogh’s characterisation of himself as a...

Read more...

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

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. Two practically new song cycles for soprano and quartet – Kate Whitley’s Charlotte...

Read more...

Richard J Evans: Eric Hobsbawm - A Life in History review - mesmerisingly readable

This is an astonishing book: in its breadth, depth and detail and also in its almost palpable, and sometimes unpalatable, admiration of its subject, the controversial, long-lived Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012). But if you want to...

Read more...

Katya Kabanova, Opera North review – a grim tale

A sad tale’s best for winter, and Opera North have returned to Janáček’s lyrical taken on a classic Russian drama of domestic abuse, guilt and suicide for this ingredient of their current season. Director Tim Albery and designer Hildegard Bechtler...

Read more...
Subscribe to 20th century