sat 25/05/2024

BBCSO

Remembering conductor Andrew Davis (1944-2024)

As a human being of immense warmth, humour and erudition, Andrew Davis made it all too easy to forget what towering, incandescent performances he inspired. Now is a good time to recall those properly to mind, to listen to his huge discography, and...

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Classical CDs: Swans, hamlets and bossa nova

 Chopin: Études op.10 & op.25 Yunchan Lim (Decca)Chopin Nicolas van Poucke (Night Dreamer)I’m reviewing these two Chopin discs by a pair of young men together, even though there are lots of differences between their playing, and the way the...

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Watts, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bignamini, Barbican review - blazing French masterpieces

Anyone who’d booked to hear soprano Sally Matthews or to witness the rapid progress of conductor Daniele Rustioni – the initial draw for me – could not have been disappointed in their late-stage replacements. Elizabeth Watts is as much of a national...

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Malofeev, BBCSO, Lintu, Barbican review - finesse as well as fireworks

This was a muesli programme: nutty, crunchy, just sweet enough, its success lying in the balance of the various ingredients. At times, such was the explosiveness of the playing, it felt like popping candy had been added to the muesli, but in a good...

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Morison, Immler, BBCSO, Bychkov, Barbican review - a Kafka journey and a mighty landmark

The German composer Detlev Glanert, taught by Hans Werner Henze and a past collaborator with Oliver Knussen, received a Proms commission as far back as 1996. He remains, it might be fair to say, a shadowy presence here despite his prominence back...

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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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Prom 27: Wang, Hampson, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Mäkelä review - glittering night with music’s golden couple

Yuja Wang and Klaus Mäkelä, two of the classical world’s biggest hitters, have recently united to make that even more powerful item, the “power couple”. But much as they are both photogenic and charismatic, their reputations are also based on...

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Prom 14: Lisiecki, BBCSO, Chan - fine textures and subtle delights

One of the undoubted highlights of Prom 14 was unprogrammed – following his commanding performance of Beethoven’s third piano concerto, Jan Lisiecki returned to the stage to give an encore of Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat, Opus 9 No 2.There was a rapt...

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Yang, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - roots and refinement

In today’s Britain, too many concert reviews have to begin with the vandalistic threats of damage or extinction that hang over their performers. Last week, it emerged that the BBC’s bosses may be open to negotiate an alternative future for its...

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Watts, BBCSO, Wigglesworth, Barbican review - clarity, control and focus

Ryan Wigglesworth is a man of many talents. He has recently been appointed Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony, but he is also a versatile opera conductor, and an operatic sensibility is clear in the musical personality he projects.Last...

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Classical CDs: Bells, birthdays and elephants

 Hélène de Montgeroult: Études Clare Hammond (piano) (BIS)“How can music of this quality and vision be forgotten so comprehensively for so long?”, asks pianist Clare Hammond. It is the right question. The piano music of Hélène de Montgeroult (...

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Total Immersion: Sibelius the Storyteller, Barbican review - a feast of sagas and psychic masterpieces

If there’s a dud or a dullard among Sibelius’s 116 official opus numbers, I haven’t heard it. Yet catching even many of the outright masterpieces live in concert isn’t easy; the brevity that can show us a world in under 10 minutes makes some...

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