mon 27/05/2019

Manchester

Ehnes, BBC Philharmonic, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - contrasts from the 1930s

John Wilson conducted Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester just over a year ago with great success, in a programme of music from the 1940s. This time it was the very different, troubled Fourth, and the context was...

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The Pilgrim’s Progress, RNCM, Manchester review – a theatrical triumph

The Royal Northern College of Music’s spring opera is a theatrical triumph and musically very, very good. It’s 27 years since they last presented what Vaughan Williams called his "morality" – that was a triumph too, and they made a CD of it which I...

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Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story review - inside Sidebottom's head

Frank Sidebottom was a petulant, man-child showbiz trouper with a papier-mâché head. He was more spontaneously subversive than memories of his heyday rampaging round Nineties kids TV may suggest. As to the rigorously hidden man behind the mask, he...

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CD: WH Lung - Incidental Music

Encountering a debut album this good is a rare thrill. Nonetheless, the case isn't made instantly – "Simpatico People”, the opening track of W.H. Lung’s Incidental Music, takes 127 seconds to bed in and the vocal arrives after another minute....

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Oelze, Oakes, Gould, BBC Philharmonic, Gnann, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - trio of surprises

Best laid plans and all that … this concert was originally to have been conducted by the late Oliver Knussen, and of course things had to change after his death. In the end the more recently advertised Ryan Wigglesworth was unable to conduct either...

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Hardenberger, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new work trumpets a sun journey

The BBC Philharmonic and its chief guest conductor John Storgårds introduced their Manchester audience to two new things – possibly three – in this concert. One was a world premiere, and you can’t get much newer than that. The other big item was a...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Manchester - A City United In Music

Full marks for shoehorning-in the names of city’s two major football teams into the title of Manchester - A City United In Music. But this spiffy double-CD compendium roams further than the boundaries of the titular metropolis. Leigh, Salford,...

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La Damnation de Faust, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - 'concert opera' indeed

Berlioz called it a "concert opera". His telling of the Faust story is in scenes and highly theatrical, but a bit of a challenge to put on in the theatre, with its marching armies, floating sylphs, dancing will-o’-the-wisps and galloping horses. It...

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Hough, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - film music flows

No one worried about melting icecaps and homeless penguins when Vaughan Williams wrote his score for the film Scott of the Antarctic around 70 years ago. (They do now, as a new music theatre piece by Laura Bowler to be premiered by Manchester...

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Van Woerkum, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a symphony of cinema

In contrast to a classic film soundtrack played live with the film, the idea in "symphonic cinema" is that the music, and its interpretation, come first. So the conductor is literally setting the pace, and to some extent the atmosphere, while the...

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Cold Feet, Series 8, ITV, review - mortality lite

How much more is there to say about the thrills and spills of midlife? Cold Feet made a surprisingly nimble return to ITV a couple of series ago after a long furlough. There was little evidence of stiff joints or saggy bottoms in Mike Bullen’s...

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Gianni Schicchi/Suor Angelica, RNCM, Manchester review – music does the magic

The Royal Northern College of Music’s December opera production was the useful double bill of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi from Puccini’s Trittico. I say useful, because the former employs a women’s chorus (and, briefly, a full one) plus 16...

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