fri 13/12/2019

chamber music

Highgate International Chamber Music Festival opening concert review - top soloists blend to perfection

When celebrated individuals get together to play chamber music on special occasions, the result can often turn out as what the late cellist of the Borodin Quartet, Valentin Berlinsky, disparagingly called "festival quality" – meaning a clash, rather...

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Leonskaja, Ferchtman, Várdai, Wigmore Hall review - direct line to Schubert's genius

From the epic-lyric heaven storming of Beethoven's last three piano sonatas to the lyric-epic dances on the volcano of Schubert's two late piano trios isn't so big a leap, especially when you have the clairvoyant poise between colossal and intimate...

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theartsdesk at Incontri in Terra di Siena: galloping concertos and Stravinsky by starlight

July in Tuscany and the heat is intense. Oak-forested hills offer tempting shade; pale dust flies from the roads; in the houses curtains are drawn against the ferocious sun and around irrigated gardens the mosquitos are growing plump. If you love...

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theartsdesk in Dalarna: Rhinegold in a Swedish barn by a lake

Anna Larsson's fellow Swedes can count themselves lucky that the worldwide first choice to sing Wagner's Erda and the midnight song in Mahler's Third Symphony has made so much of her Dalarna inheritance. In what's called a "Concert Barn" (...

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Ax, Keenlyside, Dover Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – celebratory Schumann

Emanuel Ax here celebrated his 70th birthday with an all-Schumann recital. In fact, it was an all-Schumann marathon, a three-hour concert at Wigmore Hall featuring solo works, Dichterliebe with Simon Keenlyside, and, with the Dover Quartet, the...

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Das Rheingold, Longborough Festival Opera review - more Wagnerian excellence in a Gloucestershire barn

The whole raison d’être of the Longborough Festival was always the performance of its founder Martin Graham’s beloved Wagner. So it’s perfectly natural that the twelfth anniversary of the start of the festival’s original Ring cycle should be marked...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bartók, Bruckner, Busoni

 Bartók: Complete String Quartets Quatuor Diotima (Näive)Technical infallibility is now a non-negotiable when it comes to Bartók's six fiendishly difficult string quartets. Still, there's much more to these pieces than simply hitting the right...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mozart, Poulenc, Jeremy Denk

 Mozart: The String Quintets Klenke Quartet (with Harald Schoneweg, viola) (Accentus Music)The viola was Mozart's instrument of choice when playing chamber music, his fondness for the instrument's warm timbre prompting him to add a second viola...

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JACK Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – superlative Elliott Carter quartets

At Wigmore Hall the JACK Quartet presented the complete Elliott Carter string quartets in a single day – an astonishing feat given the scale and complexity of the music. One of Carter’s many achievements here is the self-sufficiency of each of his...

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Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem. Two practically new song cycles for soprano and quartet – Kate Whitley’s Charlotte...

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Johnson, Carducci Quartet, Warwick Arts Centre review - new work with well-loved quintets

There are those who say, somewhat cynically, that a way for new music to get an audience is to present it carefully packaged up with standard repertoire that will draw a larger crowd. How true that may be is open to debate, but composer Stephen...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Artyomov, Mozart, Smith

 Vyacheslav Artyomov: In Memoriam, Lamentations, Pietà, Tristia I (Divine Art)Born in 1940, Vyacheslav Artyomov trained as a physicist before switching to music. He joined forces with fellow composers Sofia Gubaidlina and Viktor Suslin in the...

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