wed 24/04/2019

Mozart

Philharmonia, Blomstedt, RFH review - gravity and grace

Great conductors, like efficient auto engines, apply a lot of torque – they can use a little energy to achieve great surges of movement. Now aged 91, the American-born Swedish maestro Herbert Blomstedt sometimes hardly seems to raise his baton-free...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mozart, Poulenc, Jeremy Denk

 Mozart: The String Quintets Klenke Quartet (with Harald Schoneweg, viola) (Accentus Music)The viola was Mozart's instrument of choice when playing chamber music, his fondness for the instrument's warm timbre prompting him to add a second viola...

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Fellner, LSO, Haitink, Barbican review - the master at 90

So this is how Bruckner's Fourth Symphony should go. It's taken a master conductor just past his 90th birthday and an orchestra on top form to teach me. No doubt Claudio Abbado and Brucknermeister Gunter Wand could have done so, too, but I never...

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Idomeneo, English Touring Opera review – honest excellence

Selfish, cunning, cynical, the older generation has screwed up the world with aggression abroad and dishonesty at home. Can their children make it good again? This family drama of transgression and reparation threads through Idomeneo, the opera that...

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Johnson, Carducci Quartet, Warwick Arts Centre review - new work with well-loved quintets

There are those who say, somewhat cynically, that a way for new music to get an audience is to present it carefully packaged up with standard repertoire that will draw a larger crowd. How true that may be is open to debate, but composer Stephen...

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Così fan tutte, Royal Opera review - fine singing and elegant deceits

Give hope to all, says Despina: play-act. Così fan tutte has always been a piece about four young and silly people being appalling to one another without much need for encouragement from a cynical old manipulator and a confused maid who, in the main...

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Kulman, Skelton, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - romantic sign-offs

Time was when the BBC Symphony Orchestra played austerely wholesome programmes of modern and romantic classics to third-full houses. Now on a more varied diet – such as the collaboration with Neil Gaiman and Alwyn's Miss Julie in concert announced...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Artyomov, Mozart, Smith

 Vyacheslav Artyomov: In Memoriam, Lamentations, Pietà, Tristia I (Divine Art)Born in 1940, Vyacheslav Artyomov trained as a physicist before switching to music. He joined forces with fellow composers Sofia Gubaidlina and Viktor Suslin in the...

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The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera review - charming to hear, charmless to look at

I last saw this Magic Flute, directed by Dominic Cooke, when it was new, some 14 years ago, and I remember it mainly, I’m afraid, for its lack of visual charm. Nothing much has changed: the relentless box sets (designer Julian Crouch), not a leaf or...

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'Bringing things to life is what opera is all about': Robert Howarth on a 'Magic Flute' with a difference

I’m here in Leeds at the end of five weeks of quite intense rehearsals for Opera North's new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Our director James Brining and his amazing team (including assistant director Deborah Cohen, set and costume...

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Fibonacci Sequence, Conway Hall review - characterful chamber music for winds

Most classical concert reviews focus on prominent orchestras and opera companies at major venues. But beyond the likes of the Barbican and the Royal Opera House, there are whole strata of musical life where smaller scale ensembles and amateur choirs...

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Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Milton Court review - brilliantly hyper-active Mozart

Think Glastonbury, not Salzburg. It struck me at Milton Court last night that the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s ebullient, rock’n’roll Mozart would go down a storm at the sort of music festival renowned for canvas more than canapes. As listeners...

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