fri 24/01/2020

BBCSO

prisoner of the state, Barbican review - beauty, but where is the drama?

You can see the temptation. With three different versions and four different overtures to choose from, as well as all that spoken dialogue to cut, substitute or omit, Beethoven’s Fidelio has always been a Choose Your Own Adventure sort of opera – a...

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Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch, BBCSO, Bychkov, Barbican review – fire and brimstone on a flat canvas

“Hieronymus!” bellowed David Wilson Johnson from the Barbican Hall’s circle on Saturday evening. “Hieronymus Bosch!” Commissioned by Dutch radio for a big piece to mark 500 years since the passing of the Dutch painter in 1516, the German composer...

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Family Total Immersion: Lift Off!, BBC SO, Glassberg, Barbican review – 50th anniversary tribute to Apollo 11

This family concert – “Total Immersion: Lift Off!” – was basically a small-scale rerun of this year’s CBeebies Prom, that one entitled “Off to the Moon”. The Prom had a space theme, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and...

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The Man Who Saw Too Much, BBC One review – death camp in the clouds

Boris Pahor is the oldest known survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. In this program, the 106-year-old recounts his experiences as a political refugee and prisoner to the Nazis during their rule in his native Slovenia. As a study of one...

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Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, Episode Three, BBC Four review – more than a bit of Botticelli

Once again the whodunit becomes the whoforgedit in the newest installment of the Britain’s Lost Masterpieces series. Host and art historian Bendor Grosvenor introduces us to what is one of the most beautiful he’s ever seen: a Madonna and Child...

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The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson, BBC Four review – the future we’ve left behind

John Simpson remains the BBC’s longest serving foreign correspondent. Here, he returns to the biggest moment of his career. This personalised retelling of the collapse of the Berlin wall encompasses fond remembrance, factual detail and the...

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Get Rich Or Try Dying: Music’s Mega Legacies, BBC Four review – inside the RIP business

Half a billion dollars is what the top five most lucrative estates of deceased musicians earned last year. The figure represents the cunning work of a few people to turn “legacy” into its own immortal industry. To watch a program on this theme is to...

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Last Night of the Proms, Barton, BBCSO, Oramo review – woke not broke

The BBC put social and ethnic diversity at the heart of this Last Night programme. The concert opened with a new work, by Daniel Kidane, called Woke, and the first half was dominated by the music of black and female composers. In the second half,...

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Prom 53: Connolly, Gregory, Tappan, BBCSO & Chorus, Davis review - citizens of the world unite

Let's be clear: this was a Prom of world-class works by English composers, not a conservative concert of English music. Politically speaking, Elgar was one of the few on the right, but how different inwardly, speaking through the poet Arthur O’...

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Prom 43: Haefliger, BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo review – the frisson of the new

Time was, not long ago, when the very word “premiere” was enough to ensure a sizeable smattering of red plush holes in the Royal Albert Hall audience. It seemed people did not want to risk attending new works for fear they would sound ghastly. Any...

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Prom 25: Gabetta, BBCSO, Stasevska review – stunning Weinberg debut

This concert from the BBC Symphony Orchestra marked the first performance of composer Mieczysław Weinberg at the Proms, an important milestone in the recent surge of interest of his music. When Weinberg, a Russian composer of Jewish descent and...

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Prom 18: Andsnes, Mahnke, Skelton, BBCSO, Gardner review – all passion spent

It’s a curiosity of music that a performance can occasionally be better – more persuasive and impressive – than the work itself. Even Britten’s most devoted advocates would find it hard to rank the Piano Concerto among his masterpieces. In his...

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