thu 02/04/2020

contemporary classical

Classical CDs Weekly: Christopher Gunning, Joe Meek, Tesla Quartet

 Christopher Gunning: Symphonies 2, 10 & 12 BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Kenneth Woods (Signum)You’ve probably heard Christopher Gunning’s music without realising it: he’s been a prolific film and television composer for decades. A pupil...

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Denis and Katya, Music Theatre Wales / Uproar, Rafferty review - disturbing the untroubled monotony of South Wales music

Once upon a time writing an opera was first and foremost a question of choosing a good story. But times move on, and today – as Nicholas Till reminds us in a fascinating programme note for Philip Venables’s and Ted Huffman’s new chamber opera – the...

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Imagining Ireland, Barbican review - raising women's voices

Recent politics surround the EU and nationhood, fantasies of Irish Sea bridges and trading borders more porous than limestone have revived the granular rub between Eire and Britain, and the Celtic Tiger cool of the Nineties is a history module these...

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Currie, Jordan, NCO, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - major marimba music

Finding one piece for marimba soloist and string orchestra would tax the powers of many concert planners, never mind coming up with two, so the Northern Chamber Orchestra is to be congratulated on its first Manchester performance of 2020 –...

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Best of 2019: Classical concerts

It says so much for the cornucopia of London's classical music scene alone that all five of the most recent concerts I've attended have made the long list for best of 2019. I'll settle for two. The anger and violence of Vaughan Williams's Fourth...

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theartsdesk in Zurich and Tallinn: celebrating great Estonians

Culturally, "the little country that could" - as Estonia's ex-Prime Minister and historian Mart Laar dubbed it - punches well above its weight. While it educates the young with a musical instrument made available to every child, Estonia continues to...

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CD: Simon Thacker's Ritmata - Tàradh

Composer, classical guitarist and ensemble leader Simon Thacker has spent the past decade immersed in distinct musical cultures; from the reinterpretations and reimaginings of the musical traditions of eastern Europe and the Roma people that...

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Ólafur Arnalds presents OPIA, Southbank Centre review - many strange delights

Ólafur Arnalds is almost secretly huge. Millions adore the melancholy beauty of the Icelandic composer’s music, yet his name still brings blank stares from some. The Royal Festival Hall was predictably full to bursting, though, to see Arnalds...

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CD: Land of Kush - Sand Enigma

Land of Kush are an ambitious 20-piece plus ensemble which features all manner of instruments from strings, horns, piano, guitar, santur, darbouka, oud and synths, as well as multiple vocalists and percussionists. Led by Sam Shalabi of the trippy...

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Gerstein, LPO, Adès, RFH review - engaging new piano concerto

Every ten years or so Thomas Adès writes a piano concerto and the latest had its UK premiere last night at the Royal Festival Hall, played by Kirill Gerstein and conducted by Adès himself. Following on from the youthful, skittish Concerto Conciso of...

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'A laboratory for everything': Jasper Parrott on the future of his classical music agency

Fiftieth anniversary? It seems incredible but also so exhilarating not least because these times we live in now seem to me to be a golden age for music of all kinds and in particular for what we label so inadequately classical music. This flowering...

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Balsom, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - made in Brum

There’s nothing like practising what you preach. “I say straight out that I regard all so-called 12-tone music, so-called serial music, so-called electronic music and so-called avant-garde music as utter rubbish, and indeed a deliberate conning of...

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