tue 26/10/2021

Barbican

Isamu Noguchi, Barbican review – the most elegant exhibition in town

Isamu Noguchi may not be a household name, yet one strand of his work is incredibly familiar. In 1951 he visited a lamp factory in Gifu, a Japanese city famous for its paper lanterns. This prompted him to design the lampshades that, for decades,...

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The Creation, Academy of Ancient Music, Cummings, Barbican review - back to choral paradise

Whatever the upsets and uncertainties of this musical season, the return of choral works at full scale and full power has been an unalloyed joy. And sheer, exhilarated, heaven-storming joy branded the Academy of Ancient Music’s reading of Haydn’s...

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Nicola Benedetti, Barbican Hall review – from Bach to the Highlands via New Orleans

If a standard-sized recital hall can be a lonely place for a solo violinist, playing an auditorium of Barbican dimensions must feel like crossing a desert under pitiless spotlight sun. Happily, Nicola Benedetti’s prowess as a communicator means that...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - a glimpse into Bruckner’s workshop

For most Bruckner fans, the multiple editions and revisions of his symphonies are a problem. But Simon Rattle sees it differently; for him every edition offers more music to explore. That was the thinking behind this programme, presenting the Fourth...

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El Father Plays Himself review – a roller coaster ride of mixed emotions

A young film director writes a script based on his father’s life story and invites his dad to play the part. It’s an interesting gambit, given that the son, Jorge Thielen Armand left Venezuela with his mother at the age of 15 and has not returned...

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Anything Goes, Barbican review - an explosion of joy

"Times have changed", we're informed in the cascadingly witty title number of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, now in revival at the Barbican and bringing with it a pandemic-clearing tsunami of joy.Or have they? Few I am sure would dispute the...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - songs and dances in a room with an audience

It began with a sense of wonder, not just from the Barbican's socially distanced audience but also from the stage, at “that sound you make with your hands”, as Simon Rattle put it in what he said was a novelty speech before a performance. What...

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Das Lied von der Erde, Kožená, Staples, LSO, Rattle, Barbican online review - more joy than sorrow

The drunkard in spring; the lonely man in autumn; the long goodbye. Mahler’s last song-cycle often seems to embody solitude; a resigned, earthly counterpart to the transcendent rapture of his previous work, the Eighth Symphony, as a superstitious...

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Benjamin Grosvenor, Barbican online review - black magic and golden-age gorgeousness

I can’t deny that it’s great to be able to experience a recital by Benjamin Grosvenor live from the Barbican despite lockdown, streamed into your own home. The filming of this performance on Saturday night was superb, clear and well paced; we could...

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Best of 2020: Visual Arts

Unhappy as it is to be ending the year with museums and galleries closed, 2020 has had its triumphs, and there is plenty to look forward to in 2021. Two much anticipated exhibitions at the National Gallery were delayed and subject to closures and...

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Not-quite-solitude on the 34th floor: violinist Maxine Kwok on the short film 'Rising'

2020: a year that at some point felt like the end of live performance for the world of the performing arts, certainly for the foreseeable future. Artists spent months without any form of collaboration, leading to a serious lack of motivation due to...

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Hutchings, Britten Sinfonia, Paterson, Barbican online review – saluting an American classic

When Aaron Copland wrote his most beloved work, Appalachian Spring, in 1943/44, he gave it the unfussy working title of “Ballet for Martha” – Martha being the choreographer Martha Graham, for whom he’d written the score. It was only shortly before...

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