fri 07/05/2021

Bach

Bach St John Passions from Oxford and Stockholm online review – theatrical drive from Gardiner, interiority under Harding

Last Easter, viewing options were limited: no-one who saw it will forget a version of Bach’s St John Passion from the church where it was first performed in 1724, Leipzig’s Thomaskirche, with an idiosyncratic tenor taking all the parts other than...

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Tenebrae, Short, Wigmore Hall online review - reflections for Holy Week

A year into the pandemic, it is hard to imagine anybody relishing the prosect of Lenten austerity. But the liturgical calendar trundles on, and here we are in Holy Week. The aptly named Tenebrae Choir, under conductor Nigel Short here offer a...

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Classical CDs: Music for Easter, vocal anthologies and a trip to Dundalk

 Bach: St Matthew Passion Gaechinger Cantorey/Hans-Christoph Rademann (Accentus)Your shelves may already be overburdened with recordings of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, but make a small space for this one. Recorded in November 2020 under lockdown...

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Classical CDs: Big symphonies, archlutes and the healing power of the viola

 Bach: The English Suites Paolo Zanzu (harpsichord) (Musica Ficta)I’m a recent convert to Bach keyboard music played on harpsichord, having recently immersed myself in the Erato box set containing Zuzana Růžičková’s Bach recordings made in the...

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Classical CDs: Dusty graveyards, bell sounds on pianos and a cold Cambridgeshire fen

 The Way of Light – The Music of Nigel Hess (Orchid Classics)You’ve probably heard Nigel Hess’s music without realising it. He’s scored multiple RSC productions and has provided incidental music for dozens of films and television programmes....

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Pavel Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall online review - the joyful wisdom of the Goldbergs

Aside from the happy accident of longevity, something that set Bach and Handel and Telemann apart from their contemporaries was fluency. I’m speaking here of musical rather than verbal tongues: the least polyglot of them was Bach, with his command...

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Classical CDs: recorders, fishermen, Spanish nightlife and waltzes

 Bach: Sonatas for recorder, harpsichord and viola da gamba Michala Petri (recorder), Hille Perl (viola da gamba), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) (OUR Recordings)That these sonatas were originally composed by Bach for flute is surely of no...

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András Schiff, Wigmore Hall review - Bach in isolation

Amid madness, fear and death, there is still an oasis in the music of Bach - and Bach played by András Schiff in the Wigmore Hall is a special type of haven. Normally one can’t get in to those concerts because they are instantly sold out, even...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs 2020

 Bach: Christmas Oratorio Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben, Handel’s Company/Rainer Johannes Homburg (MDG)Another year, another new Bach Christmas Oratorio. Not that I’m complaining; this one is another zinger, up there with excellent contemporary...

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Brecon Baroque, Podger, Brecon Cathedral online review - Bach recoloured

Bach’s Goldberg Variations, written for harpsichord in about 1741 supposedly (or perhaps not) for a certain Johann Goldberg to play to the insomniac Count Keyserlingk, have enjoyed – or suffered – countless arrangements for other instruments,...

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First Person: harpsichordist Chad Kelly on reimagining Bach's Goldberg Variations

As musicians took tentative steps into the unfamiliar world of PPE, socially-distanced rehearsals and audiences watching from home on a computer screen, a common water-cooler question was, “What did you do during lockdown?”.  I am grateful to...

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Viktoria Mullova, Misha Mullov-Abbado, Fidelio Orchestra Cafe review - a rainbow of brilliant artistry

There should eventually be a plaque on the outside of the Fidelio Orchestra Café in Farringdon, to the effect that London’s musical life after lockdown re-ignited here. And how, in early July, with Steven Isserlis exuberantly stepping up to play...

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