tue 07/07/2020

Baroque

Acis and Galatea, The Sixteen, Christophers, Cadogan Hall review – pocket-sized pastoral pleasures

Nymphs and shepherds – go away? In music, as in art or literature, the pastoral fripperies of the Baroque age can feel utterly alien to modern tastes. Those dalliances, seductions and abductions in the Arcadian landscapes of myth may cease to entice...

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Caravaggio & Bernini, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - high emotion in 17th century Rome

It doesn’t matter where you stand, whether you crouch, or teeter on tiptoe: looking into the eyes of Bernini’s Medusa, 1638-40, is impossible. The attempt is peculiarly exhilarating, a game of dare made simultaneously tantalising and absurd by the...

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Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Agnew, Barbican review – splendid Baroque knees-up

“How many times have you heard the conductor sing?” asked William Christie after the final number, but before the two encores, of Sunday night’s 40th birthday celebration for his ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Well, lovers of old recordings know...

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Podger, Brecon Baroque, Hollingworth, Brecon Cathedral review - Bohemian footnotes yield the extraordinary

One of the more harmless pastimes of us retired academics is rummaging around among the so-called minor contemporaries of great and famous composers. It often turns out that quite a few of them aren’t minor at all, or at least not minor enough to...

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Prom 71: Dunedin Consort, Butt review – Bach to the drawing-board please

Blame it on the box set. The four Bach Orchestral Suites fit neatly together as a recording project. They used to fill out the four sides of a double LP back in the early stages of the baroque revival. Completists and collectors could rejoice then,...

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Franco Fagioli, Il Pomo d’Oro, Birmingham Town Hall review - flair and flamboyance

For the final, and only UK, date of his Vinci Arias tour, virtuoso countertenor Franco Fagioli gave an animated and arresting recital of baroque arias at Birmingham Town Hall on Sunday afternoon with the Italian period instrument group Il pomo d’oro...

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Berenice, Royal Opera/London Handel Festival review - luminous shenanigans in the Linbury

It might be the nature of Handel's operatic beasts, but performances tend to fall into two camps: brilliant in the fusion of drama and virtuosity, singing and playing, or boring to various degrees. If this handsome opening gambit in the 2019 London...

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital. Our core charitable and artistic...

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The English Concert, Bicket, Wigmore Hall review – small-scale Bach

It’s Christmas already at Wigmore Hall. Or advent at least – this concert of Bach Advent cantatas was presented by the English Concert without apology or qualification, despite it still being the middle of November. But it proved a welcome fillip...

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The Triumph of Time and Truth, Higginbottom, Kings Place review – time well spent, despite the words

You can always depend on Handel to turn verbal dross into musical gold. The chasm between lumbering doggerel and soaring sound can seldom have yawned wider, though, that in several numbers from the third, English version of The Triumph of Time and...

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Radamisto, English Touring Opera review - propulsive, lively Handel

Baroque repertoire doesn’t seem to register on most British opera company’s schedules these days, so it is good to see ETO devoting their autumn season to Handel, Purcell and Bach, with some additions from Carissimi and Gesualdo for good measure....

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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 2, Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review – high drama in 24 short acts

Bach specialists like to explain that the second book of preludes and fugues in The Well-Tempered Clavier, composed around 1740 and thus almost two decades after the first, draws on more of the fancy and daring “modern” music of its time than its...

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