sat 18/05/2024

Austria

Coote, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - the triumph of life

Programme notes for Mahler’s monumental symphonies will often blithely chat about the works’ epic struggle between life and death, creation and destruction, joy and dread. In a comfy hall with a slick orchestra and a polished maestro, all of that...

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Josefowicz, LPO, Järvi, RFH review - friendly monsters

At first glance, this looked like an odd coupling: Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto from 1931, all spiky neo-classicism and short-winded expressionist sparkle, as a tributary opening before the mighty rolling stream of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony.Yet in...

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Schubert Piano Sonatas 4, Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - feverish and sometimes violent

“Death doesn’t scare me at all,” said my friend Christopher Hitchens during our last telephone conversation. “After all, it’s the only certainty in life. Dying, however, scares me shitless”.However hard one tries to remove these three final sonatas...

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Winterreise, Clayton, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, QEH review - new maps for the great journey

Like Hamlet or Fidelio, Schubert’s Winterreise can withstand and overcome (almost) any kind of re-imagining. In the case of Hans Zender’s 1993 “composed interpretation” of the work for chamber orchestra – and sundry sound effects – the new model has...

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theartsdesk at Salzburg Jazz & the City Festival - perfection in free venues

As a cultural destination, Salzburg really is hard to beat. Each year, a million and a half tourists descend on this compact city with its baroque architectural delights, and a population of just 150,000. The city of Mozart and of the Salzburger...

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Prom 65: Bruckner's Eighth, BBCSO, Bychkov review - a friendly giant

Bruckner's behemoth has always had its fervent champions – and its muttering sceptics. The 85-odd minutes of his Eighth Symphony, finally performed after major revisions in 1892, build into a titanic testament. Advocates read into it enough...

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Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer, RFH review - elegy and ecstasy

Standing ovations on the less-than-passionate South Bank can have a dutiful, grudging quality. However, I’ve seldom heard more heartfelt ardour at the Royal Festival Hall than the acclaim for Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra last...

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Mahler’s Third Symphony, Philharmonia, Paavo Järvi, RFH review - phosphorescent glow, depths only glimpsed

This longest, wackiest and most riskily diverse of Third Symphonies became Esa-Pekka Salonen’s personal property during his years as the Philharmonia's Principal Conductor. His successor, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, has (in)famously said he’s not...

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'Corsage' director Marie Kreutzer: 'Being beautiful is her only currency'

It’s 1877, and Austria’s Empress Elisabeth (Vicky Krieps) is first seen gasping under freezing water, skin blotchy with another extreme treatment to maintain her legendary beauty. Every day she constricts herself in her corset, as she’s constrained...

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Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall review - calm waters run deep

On a night when any brooks running past the Wigmore Hall might have frozen almost solid, Imogen Cooper’s recital travelled on sparkling waters of the highest purity across almost a century of pianistic innovation.As well as the streams and fountains...

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Coote, Jackson, Drake, Middle Temple Hall review – Mahler's long goodbyes

Sometimes you know the quality of music by the depth of the silence when it ends. Last night at Middle Temple Hall – and thank Mahler’s mystical heavens for it – the final ghostly “Ewig” of Der Abschied faded away into a soundless void that lasted...

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Proms Festival Orchestra, Wigglesworth, BBC Proms review - brilliant work in progress, perfect Adagietto

You don’t expect a great orchestral string section to be born overnight, yet under the circumstances of the Proms Festival Orchestra’s rapid creation and only three rehearsals of three hours each, this was more than good, with detailed articulation...

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