sat 04/07/2020

Expressionism

Blu-ray: The Golem

A lumbering, barrel-chested hulk with a weirdly Ancient Egyptian wedge of hair, the eponymous clay monster of Paul Wegener and Carl Boese’s The Golem: How He Came Into the World compensates for his limited intelligence with brute strength and a...

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theartsdesk in Bergen: Gothic shocks and Romantic treats

Ole Bull sounds like some legendary gun-slinging hero of the Wild West. A legend he definitely was, and he spent long enough in the US to found a migrant community in Pennsylvania. But the Norwegian virtuoso (1810-1880) made his name not with a...

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Williams, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall Manchester review - vision before gloom

The BBC Philharmonic have given memorable accounts of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4 in Manchester before – notably conducted by Günther Herbig in 2010 and by John Storgårds in 2014 – but surely none as harrowingly grim as under Mark Wigglesworth this...

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Matthew Holness: 'I wanted to make a modern silent horror film'

Watching Matthew Holness’ debut feature Possum, you’d be forgiven in thinking he was a tortured soul. Lead character Phillip (played by Sean Harris, pictured below) is a lean marionette of a man, prone to horrific flights of fantasy involving a...

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Machinal, Almeida Theatre review - descending into darkness

The American playwright/journalist Sophie Treadwell's 1928 expressionist drama crops up every so often in order to allow a director to leave his or her signature upon it, so the first thing to be said about Natalie Abrahami's Almeida Theatre revival...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - symphonies of death and new life

In the 27 years since he first conducted Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Sir Simon Rattle has steadily integrated its moodswings and high contrasts into a reading of a piece which now feels more than ever like the work of a man engaged in a form of...

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Emil Nolde: Colour Is Life, National Gallery of Ireland review - boats, dancers, flowers

Colours had meanings for Emil Nolde. “Yellow can depict happiness and also pain. Red can mean fire, blood or roses; blue can mean silver, the sky or a storm.” As the son of a German-Frisian father and a Schleswig-Dane mother, Nolde was raised in a...

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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Kneehigh on tour review - sweetest musical Chagalliana

Time flies so much more beguilingly in Daniel Jamieson and Emma Rice's 90-minute musical fantasia than it ever has, for me, in Bock and Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof – and the songs aren't bad, either. The inspiration here – and inspiration's the...

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Salome, Royal Opera review – lurid staging still packs a punch

David McVicar may seem too gentle a soul for the lurid drama of Strauss's Salome, but his production, here returning to Covent Garden for a third revival, packs a punch. He gives us plenty of sex and violence – or at least nudity and blood – but...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Vampir Cuadecuc

Pere Portabella’s remarkable Vampir Cuadecuc is almost impossible to classify. It may have been filmed on the set of Jesús Franco's 1970 Hammer horror film El Conde Dracula – with the obviously enthusiastic participation of a cast led by...

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Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Modern review - rediscovering a forgotten genius

I can’t pretend to like the work of Fahrelnissa Zeid, but she was clearly an exceptional woman and deserves to be honoured with a retrospective. She led a privileged life that spanned most of the 20th century; born in Istanbul in 1901 into a...

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Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gatti, Barbican

Time was when the principal conductor of a top orchestra could afford to refine mastery of a small and familiar repertoire, covering a century and a half of music at most. The rest he (always he) would leave to loyal or youthful lieutenants. The...

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