sun 17/01/2021

chamber music

The Soldier's Tale, Scottish Chamber Orchestra online review - top performers master a baggy mini-monster

Born in exigency at the end of the First World War and soon kiboshed by the Spanish flu, The Soldier’s Tale as originally conceived is a tricky hybrid to bring off. Not so the suite – Stravinsky’s mostly incidental-music numbers are unique and vivid...

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Kanneh-Mason Trio/Cassadó Ensemble, Kings Place review - the fewer the players, the greater the music

For the performers and the venue there can be nothing but praise. To be back in Kings Place’s Hall One after so long was to realise afresh that no other London venue gives such air to soaring strings – and these ones truly did soar and gleam. For...

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Mofidian, Britten Sinfonia, Elder, Saffron Hall review - meditations and mirth

How strange to experience Saffron Walden’s amazingly high-standard new(ish) concert hall without the usual auditorium – in other words no tiered rows other than in the balcony, but seats around tables, on a level with the musicians (pictured below,...

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Baker, Ridout, LaFollette, Schwizgebel, Fidelio Orchestra Cafe review - fun and ferocity

How many musicians can you fit in the main space of the Fidelio Orchestra Café? The answer is 23 string players in masks, for the recording of Strauss’s Metamorphosen of which I was a solitary witness in the summer. With diners accommodated,...

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Elias Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – sinewy, muscular Beethoven

You could imagine that normality had returned watching the live webcasts from the Wigmore Hall. The Hall has bucked the trend, and managed to present a full autumn season, to a carefully separated but still substantial audience. Yesterday evening’s...

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Ragged Music Festival review - musical utopia in an East End schoolroom

A muse of fire descended on the top floor of a former warehouse in the East End, unextinguished by the rain which fell almost continuously outside during the four stupendous concerts – three advertised, one a generous bonus – of the Ragged Music...

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Istanbul International Music Festival online review – East-West flair and finesse

Salzburg, Verbier and other high-end festivals have scraped together reduced, still impressive programmes over the summer for consumption online. Not so starrily cast but hardly less engaging in situ is the adapted offering from Istanbul, mixing...

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Castalian Quartet/Elizabeth Llewellyn, Simon Lepper, Wigmore Hall review - out of this world

Songs of the beyond versus the profundity of the here and now struck very different depths in the Castalians’ evening concert at the Wigmore Hall and Elizabeth Llewellyn’s recital with equal partner Simon Lepper the following lunchtime. It was good...

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A London Saturday with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Pavel Kolesnikov, Samson Tsoy and friends - review

Even bigger things have happened to Sheku Kanneh-Mason since I last saw him performing alongside his contemporaries in the Fantasia Orchestra – That Royal Wedding, for instance, and a Decca contract. Yet it looks like he will always have the wisdom...

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall/Hill Quartet, Bandstand Chamber Festival review – seamlessness inside and out

An early hero of lockdown, livestreaming from his Berlin home in terrible sound at first, Igor Levit is a supreme example of how adaptable musicians can survive in times like these. True, he has the advantage of being the go-to pianist of the moment...

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Maggini Quartet/Friend, Solem Quartet, Bandstand Chamber Festival review - in harmony with nature

Music going back to nature, or rather the managed nature of a London park, can make you think and feel quite differently about great composers’ responses to the world around them. To hear Dvořák’s blissful “American” Quartet the Friday before last...

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First Person: Artistic Director John Gilhooly on an inclusive and diverse Wigmore Hall

It is hard to believe that it’s really happening! Despite a few bumps along the way, Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber, one of the greatest Lieder duos of our time, will open the 20/21 Wigmore Hall Season tomorrow night in a programme of Schubert...

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