sun 17/11/2019

choral music

Williams, LPO, Alsop, RFH review - sleek lines and pastoral tones

The London Philharmonic’s Isle of Noises, a year-long festival dedicated to music of the British Isles, drew towards its close with this programme of Butterworth, Elgar and Walton. Marin Alsop was a good choice to lead, especially for Walton’s...

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The Apostles, LPO, Brabbins, RFH review - Elgar's melancholy New Testament snapshots

The Apostles is a depressing work, mostly in a good way. Elgar's one good aspirational theme of mystic chordal progressions is easily outnumbered by a phantasmal parade of dying falls, hauntingly shaped and orchestrated. After The Dream of Gerontius...

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Bevan, The Sixteen, Genesis Sixteen, Christophers, Barbican review - MacMillan transcends again

Verdi, Elgar, Janáček, John Adams - just four composers who achieved musical transcendence to religious texts as what convention would label non-believers, and so have no need of the "forgiveness" the Fátima zealots pray for their kind in James...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gounod, James MacMillan, Johannes Pramsohler

 Gounod: Symphonies 1 and 2 Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos)Roger Nichols’ lucid sleeve note underlines the point that Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique singularly failed to kick off a 19th century French symphonic...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - the beautiful and the damned

Our greatest Berlioz scholar, David Cairns, has called Le Damnation de Faust “an opera of the mind’s eye, not of the stage,” and I’ve certainly never seen a production that successfully staged its curious, episodic, actionless mixture of set piece,...

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Monteverdi Vespers, Cummings, The English Concert, Garsington Opera Chorus review – Gloria in the Chilterns

Scholars still wrangle over the work now known as Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. Was this an integral piece written for a single liturgical occasion, or a sort of anthology of luxury items assembled to help the composer’s bid to escape the underpaid...

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The Anvil, Royal, Purves, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester - disturbing, baffling and moving

Two hundred years ago next month, an assembly of around 60,000 people gathered on St Peter’s Fields in Manchester to protest about their lack of political representation. Speakers addressed the crowd, bands played and banners were carried.The local...

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London Mozart Players, Davan Wetton, St Giles Cripplegate - rousing Shakespearean revel

The festival Summer Music in City Churches is in only its second year, filling a gap left by the demise of the long-running City of London Festival. This year’s festival had the theme of Words and Music and offered an enticing programme of recitals...

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Morison, Williams, RLPO, Davis, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool review – a vision of near perfection

It wasn’t really the orchestra’s night.  Nor the soloists'. Nor, even, the conductor's. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir totally stole the show, well surpassing the incredibly high standards which they already regularly attain and...

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CBSO, Volkov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Mahler goes Bauhaus

Just over a decade ago it was predicted by those supposedly in the know that Ilan Volkov would succeed Sakari Oramo as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In the event, the gig went to Andris Nelsons, and it was probably for...

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Bach St John Passion, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican review – sombre but engaging

William Christie kicked off Passion season in London this year with a particularly sombre reading of the St John. The veteran conductor brought his French choir and orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, and a line-up of relatively young soloists to the...

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Berlioz Requiem, Spyres, Philharmonia Orchestra, Nelson, St Paul's Cathedral review - masses and voids

Asked to choose five or ten minutes of favourite Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death (yesterday), surely few would select anything from his giant Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts). This is a work to shock and awe, not to be loved - music...

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