thu 20/06/2024

Christmas

DVD/Blu-ray: The Holdovers

Glance at The Holdovers’ synopsis and you might suspect that Alexander Payne’s latest effort is a slice of lightweight seasonal schmaltz. Yes, it is set at Christmas, and contains tear-jerking moments, but Payne and screenwriter David Hemingson...

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The Heist Before Christmas, Sky Max review - the Santa Claus wars

Not just one, but two Santas in this agreeable seasonal romp. It’s set in small-town Northern Ireland, where single mum Patricia (Laura Donnelly) is struggling to bring up her two young sons, Mikey (Bamber Todd) and Sean (Joshua McLees). Her job at...

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Polyphony/OAE, Layton, St John's Smith Square review - truncated triumph

Prior to their Messiah, due this evening, Stephen Layton’s choir Polyphony brought a version of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio to the seasonal festival at St John’s Smith Square. You can of course slice and serve Bach’s majestic 1730s combination of...

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London Handel Players, Butterfield, Wigmore Hall review - Bach with bite for Christmas

We think of the Wigmore Hall as a venue for intimate revelations, but in the right hands it can feel like a stadium. Last night’s all-Bach programme of festive music from the London Handel Players managed to embrace both moods.On a bill that began...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl Christmas Special 2023: Aretha Franklin, Barbara Streisand, Oasis, Robb Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and more

Welcome to the annual seasonal one-off, in which theartsdesk on Vinyl dives into festive releases, as well as the boxsets and reissues that will make fine presents. Grab a glass of something and dive in!CHRISTMAS VINYL OF THE MONTHVarious Stax...

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Album: Tarja - Dark Christmas

In Finland Tarja Turunen is an institution. There, she’s regarded as a kind of heavy rock-flavoured fusion of Sarah Brightman and Maria Carey. She first came to prominence as the multi-octave singer for symphonic metal kingpins Nightwish but, since...

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Album: Kate Rusby - Light Years

The regular appearance of Kate Rusby’s folkie Christmas albums have almost become a Yuletide tradition in themselves at this time of the year. 2023’s Light Years being, somewhat incredibly, the seventh in the series.Festive albums are generally, of...

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I Fagiolini, Hollingworth, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - it's not the Messiah...

“Nobody likes a Messiah…”, deadpanned Robert Hollingworth, with the timing of a practised stand-up. After a pause, “…more than I do.” At St Martin-in-the-Fields on Friday evening, however, the seasonal blockbuster did not, just for once, feature on...

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Album: Cher - Christmas

I honestly never thought I'd add a Cher song to my painstakingly curated Christmas Spotify playlist. But after listening to the ultimate diva's new album entitled simply, Christmas, as we decorate the tree (much to my children's chagrin –...

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Album: Gregory Porter - Christmas Wish

The cat in the hat with the mellifluous voice delivers his Christmas Wish for the festive season, his first Christmas album, and it sounds more or less as you would imagine it – tasteful, discreet, soulful, reined in, but richly expressive, and...

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MacMillan's Christmas Oratorio, Lois, Williams, RSNO, MacMillan, Usher Hall, Edinburgh – a great composer at the top of his game

It is not every day that a new choral work by a living composer can confidently be labelled a masterpiece. Yet this is what we have here. James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio is still sufficiently freshly-minted to be receiving its Scottish premiere...

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Blu-ray: Ghost Stories for Christmas, Volume 1

The BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas series first consisted of eight short films broadcast between 1971 and 1978, five of which were adaptations of short stories by MR James.Shot on 16mm film instead of videotape, most were directed by documentary...

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