wed 21/02/2024

Berlin

Classical CDs: Herd girls, mojitos and mariachi

 Paavo Berglund: The Warner Edition (Warner Classics)Jean Sibelius’s presence looms over this box like a friendly giant. Paavo Berglund (interestingly, one of the few left-handed conductors to have achieved international fame) recorded the...

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review - every note of Brahms’ late genius carefully weighed

Successful performances, conductor Robin Ticciati once suggested to me, are when “the head has a conversation with the heart”. The same goes, surely, for great music, though from personal experience one has to reach a certain age to find that true...

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Prom 60: Gerstein, Berlin RSO, Jurowski review - a master conductor returns with his German band

During his transformational time at the helm of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski conducted the complete Threepenny Opera in concert and two performances of Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony which changed my mind about its being good...

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Tannhäuser, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Edinburgh International Festival 2023 - compelling concert Wagner

This was one of the more strait-laced concert performances, with few concessions to Wagner’s underlying stage drama. The soloists were in formal concert dress, strung out in a line at the front of the stage, with interaction between them limited to...

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Die Verlierer, New River Studios review - Berlin punks instantly find an audience at their UK debut

It’s flabbergasting. OK, there’s the power of the internet as a propagation tool but here’s a German band playing their first UK show to a jumping-up-and-down audience punching the air while shouting along with the chorus of “X-Ray Vision” – which,...

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DVD: Babylon Berlin, Season Four

It’s coming up for two years since some of us watched the first three seasons of what’s increasingly coming to seem like television’s greatest dramatic triumph. Babylon Berlin. So we might be excused for being in a bit of brainwhirl when it comes to...

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Leonskaja, Staatskapelle Streichquartett, Wigmore Hall / Secret Byrd, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - genuine versus theatrical

It’s dangerous to claim a sense of absolute rightness about a musical performance; that could mean no more than responding to an interpretation which happens to chime with your own subjective expectations. Yet I’m happy to stick my neck out and say...

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theartsdesk at Musikfest Berlin - orchestral and choral rainbows around the clock

In its three weeks of world-class events, Muskfest Berlin has managed to be all things to all people – like a mini-Proms distilling the aspects of top international visitors alongside home-grown excellence, and of a focus on at least one relatively...

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Leonskaja, Staatskapelle Streichquartett, Wigmore Hall review - Brahms the chameleon

Epic-lyric magician Brahms wears a very adaptable garment for certain masterpieces: black on the outside with fur trimming, reversible to show its exquisitely wrought, variegated silk patterns on the inside.For the celebrated G minor Piano Quartet...

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Blu-ray: Kuhle Wampe

Kuhle Wampe is a fascinating curio, a blend of documentary, social realist drama and political debate which so bothered the German authorities upon its release in 1932 that they promptly banned it. The censorship board’s justification condemned the...

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Album: Julia Hülsmann Quartet - The Next Door

Not every musician has friends in high places in quite the way German jazz pianist and composer Julia Hülsmann does these days.A few weeks ago she played a private concert at the invitation of the German Head of State. Bundespräsident Frank-Walter...

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The Audition review - love and hate at music school

If Roman Polanski had directed Whiplash, something like this study of music’s psychological cost might have resulted. Ina Weisse’s film is more incremental and naturalistic, as violin teacher Anna (Nina Hoss) gives special attention to teenage...

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