sun 14/07/2024

Brahms

Ridout, Włoszczowska, Crawford, Lai, Posner, Wigmore Hall review - electrifying teamwork

Advice to young musicians, as given at several “how to market your career” seminars: don’t begin a biography with “one of the finest xxxs of his/her/their generation”. From my side, I’m allowed to use it occasionally: surely Timothy Ridout is the...

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Classical CDs: Fog, overdubs and broken glass

 Brahms arr. Reger: Song Transcriptions Rudolf Buchbinder (piano) (Deutsche Grammophon)Max Reger said that, for him, “the Brahms fog will remain – I prefer it to the blazing heat of Wagner.” This collection of twenty-eight song transcriptions...

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Classical CDs: Toccatas, taxi horns and tortoises

 William Steinberg: Complete Command Classics Recordings (DG)It’s hard to find a bad word said against conductor William Steinberg, cited by one critic as combining the best attributes of Toscanini and Klemperer. Born in Cologne in 1899,...

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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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BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Martin, Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff review - a host of horns in the wild woods

There were a lot of horns on display in the BBC NOW’s latest concert in Cardiff’s Hoddinott Hall. Brahms’s Second Symphony has four of them, and so does the Elegy for Brahms that Parry wrote on hearing of Brahms’s death in 1897. Gavin Higgins’s Horn...

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Classical CDs: Smocks, sins and sea swell

 LICHT: 800 Years of German Lieder Anna Lucia Richter (mezzo-soprano), Ammiel Bushakevitz (hurdy gurdy, harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano, piano) (SWR2/Challenge Classics)LICHT, 800 Years of German Lieder, from Anna Lucia Richter and Ammiel...

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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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Kim, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - the sound of brass

Ben Gernon’s relationship with the BBC Philharmonic has been a richly rewarding one over the close-on seven years since his appointment as their principal guest conductor began, and indeed subsequently. The impression gained on his first...

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Brahms Piano Sonatas, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Wigmore Hall review - when giants meet

To master even one of Brahms’s three early sonatas is a colossal task for any pianist. To play them all with towering authority in a single concert takes a phenomenon. Elisabeth Leonskaja seems just that more than ever in her late 70s; not only is...

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Classical CDs: Penitence, pipe smoking and soot sprites

 Otto Klemperer: The Warner Classics Remastered Edition (Warner Classics)The young Otto Klemperer’s conducting career was encouraged by no less than Gustav Mahler, Klemperer’s meteoric rise leading him to become director of Berlin’s Kroll Opera...

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Classical CDs: Nursery rhymes, anvils and polar explorers

 Isata Kanneh-Mason: Childhood Tales (Decca)Ernst von Dohnányi’s Variations on a Nursery Song is one of the great concertante works for piano and orchestra, rightly compared to a full-scale concerto by soloist Isata Kanneh-Mason. You’ll...

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Ein Deutsches Requiem, SCO, Emelyanychev, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - immaculate, but lacking soul

From the outset, it was clear that this would be a performance of immaculate sonic architecture. Over a soft, deep, and breathy organ pedal the first utterings of the strings sounded tentative, almost improvised, like an artist making the first...

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