sun 16/12/2018

Britten

Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas, part 2

 Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain Apollo’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrell (Avie)Subtitled ‘an Irish-Appalachian celebration’, this disc follows the Scottish and Irish immigrants who pitched up in rural Virginia in the 19th century, fleeing unemployment...

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War Requiem, English National Opera review - a striking spectacle, but oddly unmoving

We’re not good at lack these days. Just look at the concert hall, where increasingly you turn up to find not just an orchestra and soloists but a giant screen. Videos, projections, live speakers, "virtual choirs"; if there’s so much as a chink of an...

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theartsdesk Q&A: guitarist Sean Shibe

First it was the soft acoustic guitar playing, which on three occasions to three very different audiences won a silence so intense it was almost deafening. Then the loud electric, first heard in Anstruther's Dreel Halls as part of the 2017 East Neuk...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican Hall review - a mixed bag of British composers

A tradition seems to have been invented. First nights of the LSO’s seasons with Sir Simon Rattle as its Music Director start with a concert of music by British composers. The first one last year had Helen Grime, Thomas Adès, Birtwistle, Knussen and...

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Prom 72, War Requiem, RSNO, Oundjian review - the pity, and the spectacle, of war

A day after John Eliot Gardiner and wandering violist Antoine Tamestit had converted the Royal Albert Hall into a sonic map of Hector Berlioz’s Italy, conductor Peter Oundjian and his full-strength divisions transported us to the Western Front....

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Paul Bunyan, ENO, Wilton's Music Hall review - talent cabined and confined

It's Britten outside-in time for English National Opera. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, which played host earlier this year to an only partially convincing production of his 1950s masterpiece The Turn of the Screw, would have been the perfect...

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Prom 34, Matthews, BBC Philharmonic, Mena - Anglo-American mixed bag

It was all about the acoustic. Well, almost. Disregarding the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall, there’s a school of thought that believes the Proms is the world’s greatest concert series in the world’s worst hall. Why? Because its...

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall 4, Connolly, Middleton review - perfect partnering in the unfamiliar

“It has a music of its own. It produces vibrations.” Oscar Wilde was being ironic when he had Gwendolen contemplate the sound of her beloved’s drab name in The Importance of Being Earnest, but he had a point when it comes to composers and poetry....

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Proms at...Roundhouse / Proms 9 & 11 review - rituals from Messiaen to Mahler

Once the Proms season is under way, you soon regret dissing the prospectus. Connections become apparent, long-term programming a merit, especially this weekend just gone, which took us from elegies and meditations on two world wars heavenwards at...

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The Turn of the Screw, ENO, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - one dimension, not four

Opera and music theatre have set the birds shrilling in Regent's Park before in the shape of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess – a very forgettable production – and Sondheim's Into the Woods – much better, and a score which can give any 20th century opera a...

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Michael Chance on continuing opera in Hampshire: 'good people like to work with good people'

Out of the blue comes a phone call. A freelance career is based on those to a certain extent. Certainly mine has been. But this one was a bit different. “Would you come and talk to us about the way forward?”. I soon learnt that what this actually...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, ENO review - shiveringly beautiful Britten

“What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?” Hang on a minute, Tytania, there are no flowers. Instead, as Britten’s ominously low strings slither and tremble up and down the scale, the curtain rises on a huge, near-acidic emerald green hilly slope...

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