sat 15/06/2024

chamber music

The Ossianic Ballads, Edinburgh Quartet, Màiri MacMillan, National Library of Scotland review - good ingredients get lost in the mix

To coincide with the National Library of Scotland’s first bi-lingual exhibition Sguel/Story, an exhibition in English and Scottish Gaelic which celebrates stories and storytelling, the library presented a performance of newly reinterpreted Gaelic...

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Denk, Danish String Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - metaphysical strings, the piano as chameleon

Few pianists manage stylistic perfection in both Mozart and Ligeti, but to Jeremy Denk it seems to come naturally. We should have heard the riveting contrasts in quick first-half succession, but European air traffic control had wasted much of the...

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Concert Theatre DSCH, Norwegian CO, Oslo Opera House Scene 2 review - Shostakovich choreographed for strings and accordion

Do we really need instrumental Shostakovich with lighting, movement, costumes and video projection? I might have said no before having seen what the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra could do with former leader Terje Tønnesen, performing the Chamber...

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Jerusalem Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - singing to make the heart leap

Conversation just before this concert started concerned Verdi’s Il trovatore and the truism that it needs “the four greatest voices in the world”. Whether or not the quartets we heard by Mozart, Prokofiev and Brahms demand the same in string terms,...

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theartsdesk at the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival - romps and meditations at the highest level

Any chamber music festival that kicks off with Czech genius Martinů's Parisian jeu d'esprit ballet-sextet La revue de cuisine and ends its first concert with Saint-Saëns's glory of a Septet for trumpet, piano and strings is likely to be a winner....

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Lucinda Chua, ICA review - sublimity on a rainy evening in London

As my editor noted, this was the first gig in his 30 years of music journalism that had guided meditation as its support act. This set the tone for a beautiful, peaceful evening at the ICA for Lucinda Chua, a homecoming gig and a welcome listen to...

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Castalian String Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - late Britten keeps equally demanding company

Rigorous, hauntingly original and unlike each other, Britten’s three numbered quartets could share a programme and still stake equal claims on our attention. That might be tough on the players, but the Castalians haven’t been easy on themselves in...

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Belcea Quartet, Chamayou, Wigmore Hall review - romantic winged beast soars over neobaroque chameleon

In search of relatively rare fabulous beasts like César Franck’s Piano Quintet – given a fantastical performance last night – you often have to take in the ubiquitous Shostakovich specimen, the modest work of a master using simple means to his own...

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Pritchin, Emelyanychev, SCO Soloists, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh review - chamber music at its most thrilling

After full orchestral performances of Brahms’s Violin Concerto and First Symphony, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra shone a more intimate light on the composer’s oeuvre with a recital of chamber works in Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on Sunday.Having made...

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Jerusalem Quartet, Leonskaja, Wigmore Hall review - freedom and rigour in perfect balance

It’s not often that the most bittersweet moment in a rich concert comes in the encore. Elisabeth Leonskaja had already played the generous extra in question, the Dumka movement of Dvořák’s A major Piano Quintet, with the Staatskapelle Quartet only a...

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Leonskaja, Staatskapelle Streichquartett, Wigmore Hall / Secret Byrd, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - genuine versus theatrical

It’s dangerous to claim a sense of absolute rightness about a musical performance; that could mean no more than responding to an interpretation which happens to chime with your own subjective expectations. Yet I’m happy to stick my neck out and say...

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Castalian String Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - genius in works and performance

The Castalian String Quartet is half what I remember, but only literally: while viola-player Charlotte Bonneton and cellist  Christopher Graves may have departed, their replacements, Ruth Gibson and Steffan Morris, more than earned their...

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