wed 15/07/2020

Finland

Classical music/Opera direct to home 17 - festive inventions

As the Wigmore Hall goes dark again for the summer after a stupendous series of June weekday recitals - you can still catch them all on film at the Wigmore's website, or on BBC Radio 3, and Boyd Tonkin's review of two concerts will appear here on...

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Album: Nightwish - Human II: Nature

When it comes to new releases by Scandi rockers Nightwish, it’s not unusual to hear the well-worn phrase “I like their early stuff…” – usually referring to the mythical times when the band were with their first singer Tarja Turunen. Indeed,...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Carlos Cipa, Fozié Majd, Iiro Rantala, Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour

 Iiro Rantala: My Finnish Calendar (ACT)Iiro Rantala’s little commentaries for each of these 12 short pieces are almost worth the CD price alone, offering an astute guide to the typical Finnish psyche alongside handy references to weather and...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bartók, Howells, Third Coast Percussion

 Bartók: The Wooden Prince, Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Susanna Mälkki (BIS)Bartók's The Wooden Prince is a one-off in the composer's output, an evocative, expansive ballet score that will surprise anyone...

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Prom 20: Kuusisto, BBCSSO, Dausgaard review – Sibelius between folk and art

I’m not quite sure that I should review this Prom, since I performed in it. Before anyone summons the white coats, let me clarify. As the encore to a mind-expanding evening, Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto returned to the stage with his band of...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Sibelius, Thomas Wilson

 Brahms: The Piano Quartets The Primrose Piano Quartet (Meridian)Schoenberg complained that performances of Brahms’s G minor Piano Quartet never pleased him (“the better the pianist, the louder he plays and you hear nothing from the strings”)....

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Helen Schjerfbeck, Royal Academy review - watchful absences and disappearing people

Light creeps under the church door. Entering as a slice of burning white, it softens and blues into the stone interior, seeming to make the walls glow from the inside. Beneath the lintel, a milder slot of sun pours upwards. To the right, a...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Saint-Saëns, Noemi Gyori

 Mahler: Symphony No 10, completed and arranged for chamber orchestra by Michelle Casteletti Lapland Chamber Orchestra/John Storgårds (BIS)Other Mahler symphonies have been downsized on CD: there are superb transcriptions of Nos 7 and 9 from...

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CD: K-X-P - IV

Five years ago, the Swedish tech company Elektron began marketing the first version of the Analog Four, an all-in-one instrument marrying analogue oscillators with a digital sequencer, digital processing and a multi-track capability. That past-...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The White Reindeer

Finnish horror is a niche genre if ever there was one. Erik Blomberg’s directorial debut The White Reindeer is a seminal example, a beguiling, unsettling little film that’s two parts local colour to one part metaphysical thriller. Blomberg cut his...

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Sophie Bevan, Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review - an Alpine blaze

With eyes swivelled towards who'll take over from Esa-Pekka Salonen as the Philharmonia's Principal Conductor in 2021, two of the strongest possibilities are to be found within the orchestra's masthead of associates. Another Finn, Santtu-Matias...

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DVD: A Moment in the Reeds

Mikko Makela’s debut feature is as sheerly concentrated a piece of filmmaking as you can imagine. The Finnish director – previously better known as an actor – manages his principle cast of three immaculately as they play out a powerful drama that...

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