fri 21/06/2024

choral music

Bach's Mass in B Minor, Collegium Vocale Gent, Herreweghe, Barbican - masterful subtlety proves more intriguing than compelling

There’s a masterful subtlety to Philippe Herreweghe’s interpretation of Bach’s last great choral work – it shuns blazing transcendence for a sense of serene contemplation that reveals every angle of the mass’s geometrical perfection. Listening to...

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St Martin's Voices, Earis, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - music from the beginning

The concert offering at St-Martin-in-the-Fields has transformed in recent years, under Director of Music Andrew Earis. There is still a decent amount of “Four Season by Candlelight” but this tourist-bait now sits alongside some brilliant programming...

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Watts, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bignamini, Barbican review - blazing French masterpieces

Anyone who’d booked to hear soprano Sally Matthews or to witness the rapid progress of conductor Daniele Rustioni – the initial draw for me – could not have been disappointed in their late-stage replacements. Elizabeth Watts is as much of a national...

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Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philharmonia Chorus, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - poetic cello, blazing chorus

Purple patches flourished in the first half of this admirable programme: it could hardly have been otherwise given Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s devotion to a new work in his repertoire, and the current strength of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under...

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Cargill, Kantos Chamber Choir, Manchester Camerata, Menezes, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - imagination and star quality

Brazil-born conductor Simone Menezes, known for imaginative and pioneering concert presentation, presided over a striking and illuminating programme shared by Manchester’s Kantos Chamber Choir and Manchester Camerata, with the star quality of Karen...

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Bach St John Passion, Dublin Bach Singers, Marlborough Baroque Orchestra, Murphy, St Ann's Church, Dublin - choral fire

Was it worth taking a risk on a more humbly presented St John Passion in Dublin after the best St Matthew I’m ever likely to hear (from Peter Whelan and the Irish Baroque Ensemble in St Patrick’s Cathedral)?The answer, post-performance, is yes:...

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Bach Passions, Dunedin Consort, Mulroy/Jeannin, St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral/Queen's Hall, Edinburgh review - twin peaks

The annual St Matthew Passion from the Dunedin Consort is one the most reliably beautiful jewels in Edinburgh’s musical year. They do the St John Passion much less frequently; in fact, this is the first time I’ve heard them do it, maybe motivated by...

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St Mary's Music School, RSNO, Søndergård, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - a shining role for young choristers

For the second year in a row the Royal Scottish National Orchestra chose to share its platform in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall with the young musicians of St Mary's Music School. As RSNO chief executive Alistair Mackie pointed out in a short opening...

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Esther, London Handel Festival, St George’s Hanover Square review - a lopsided celebratory oratorio

“Spring Awakenings” promised as the theme of this year’s London Handel Festival began with a big if messy vernal bouquet of “Alleluia"s and “God Save the King”s. Esther, Handel's first London oratorio, seemed like an appropriately jubilant way to...

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St Matthew Passion, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Whelan, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin review - fluency, fire and some jaw-dropping solos

After last year’s small-scale, big-impact Messiah in the Wigmore Hall, superlatives are again in order for the IBO’s performance of the greatest musical offering known to humankind. With the fluency established by that most supple of directors Peter...

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RSNO Chorus, Doughty, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh review - breaking out in anniversary Bruckner

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus has a well-established concert life away from the main orchestra; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus less so. So it was refreshing to get to hear them going it (almost) alone in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars...

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Verdi's Requiem, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Pappano, Parco della Musica, Rome review - peak poignancy

Antonio Pappano is at a hinge in his illustrious career, as the exciting transfer across London from Covent Garden to the London Symphony Orchestra proceeds, and the word "Emeritus" is added to his title as Music Director of his home-from-home in...

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