wed 19/12/2018

chamber music

Thibaudet/Batiashvili/Capuçon Trio, Barbican review – a supergroup to savour

Even in a large hall, very good things can come in small packages. In advance, partisans of the Wigmore Hall or some other dedicated chamber space might have feared that the Barbican’s main auditorium would turn out to be too chilly a barn for the...

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First Person Plural: the Calidore String Quartet on music for their torn nation

Classical musicians spend much of their lives inhabiting the realms of the past. To effectively practise and perform the music of Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and countless others, performers must combine research and personal intuition to time travel...

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CBSO, Leleux, Birmingham Town Hall review - oboe extraordinaire

There’s always a special atmosphere when the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra returns to Birmingham Town Hall, and it’s not just because of the building’s Greek Revival beauty: the gilded sunburst on the ceiling, or the towering, intricately...

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Lammermuir Festival 2018 review - a bigger buzz

There’s always been something of a buzz in the air at East Lothian’s Lammermuir Festival. It’s the feeling that it’s somehow a special privilege to discover its performances – whether they’re from international names or emerging artists, challenging...

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Prom 69, Skride, Boston SO, Nelsons / Proms at...Cadogan Hall 8, Berlin Philharmonic Soloists review - sophisticated limits

Crazy days are here again – many of us are lucky not to have been born when the last collectve insanity blitzed the world – and nothing in Shostakovich seems too outlandish for reality. On the other hand, there's a growing movement to liberate his...

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2018 - canaries in front of a Périgord altar

Brits are the folk you expect to encounter the most in the rural-England-on-steroids of the beautiful Dordogne. In my experience they outnumber the French, at least in high summer, not just as visitors and retired homeowners but also as artisans...

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theartsdesk at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music - stratospheric performances by a tropical sea

North of Brisbane, south of Cairns and a short boat trip from the turquoise waters around the Great Barrier Reef, Townsville is the site of a north-east Australian military base. Despite its dry-tropical beachside glories, it’s not necessarily the...

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theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2018 - Pärt, Leonskaja and friends hard at play

Unanticipated miracles happen every summer in the quiet paradise of Estonia's seaside capital. The first this year came as a total surprise. Having got off the afternoon coach from Riga last Monday and dumped bags at my villa base in Pärnu's garden...

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CD: Pram - Across the Meridian

Birmingham outfit Pram achieved profile amongst alt-music connoisseurs shortly after the millennium. They’d been going for over a decade but their weird-masked presentation and spooked, abject music suddenly struck a chord. Being truly an art band,...

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Keaton Henson on creating 'Six Lethargies'

This Friday, July 20, sees the world premiere of Six Lethargies, a composition by the singer-songwriter Keaton Henson, created collaboratively with various artists, including the Britten Sinfonia who’ll be performing it. Henson, who has six...

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Longborough Festival review - appetising energy and wit

Much as I love Strauss’s Ariadne in its final form, I have a sneaking nostalgia for the original version (attached to Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme), which had Zerbinetta and her companions popping up after the...

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theartsdesk at the East Neuk Festival 2018 - Bach as bedrock

There is a tide in the best-planned festivals that comes in and out almost imperceptibly, bringing with it changes as the days move on. Put it down to the kind of perfect planning that discards any one rigid theme, and to forging long-term links...

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