tue 16/07/2024

Norway

theartsdesk Q&A: violinist and music director Pekka Kuusisto on staged Shostakovich, Sibelius, sound architecture and folk fiddling

Lilac time in Oslo, a mini heatwave in June 2023, a dazzling Sunday morning the day after the darkness transfigured of Concert Theatre DSCH, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra’s from-memory Shostakovich music-drama. Pekka Kuusisto and I decide not to...

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Vossa Jazz 2024 review - Norwegian festival embraces William Parker’s spaciness, Karin Krog’s classicism and much more

“The name of this group is Mayan Space Station.” In spite of the billing as The William Parker Trio, their bassist – coolly introducing himself as “William Parker, bass” – is firm about the designation under which the three musicians on stage are...

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Ragnarok, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh review - moving miniature apocalypse

In terms of conveying monumental events using small-scale means, Edinburgh’s Tortoise in a Nutshell visual theatre company has form. Their 2013 Feral, for example, depicted the social breakdown of an apparently idyllic seaside town using puppetry...

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Albums of the Year 2023: Cécile McLorin Salvant - Mélusine

If Mélusine is encountered without knowing its background or themes it would still be remarkable. There is no need to know anything about what frames this journey through Chanson Française, electronica, jazz and show-tune sensibilities with lyrics...

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The Witches, National Theatre review - fun and lively but where's the heart?

The National Theatre these days seems to be going from hit-to-hit, with transfers aplenty and full houses at home. And there's every reason to expect that this fizzy adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1983 creep-out, The Witches, has the West End and...

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Classical CDs: Suits, serenades and flared trousers

 Bach: Goldberg Variations Víkingur Ólafsson (piano) (DG)Bach Goldberg Variations Reimagined Rachel Podger/Brecon Baroque (Channel Classics)It feels like ages since I’ve listened to Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I’m more team piano than team...

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Hardanger Musikkfest 2023 review - fertility, folk music and the supernatural unite along Norway’s fjords

The cows are scattered across the mountains. Without scrambling up the slopes, the only way to summon them is to call. Unni Løvlid is beckoning them. Instead of standing outdoors she is in the medieval Ullensvang Church, in the Norwegian village of...

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Wang, Oslo Philharmonic, Mäkelä, Edinburgh International Festival 2023 review - sparkling concertos, bleak Shostakovich

Every time I have heard Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, some wiseacre in the bar afterwards trots out the predictable joke that it’s a cheap concert as the pianist gets only half the fee. For all that this is obviously nonsense, most...

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Julie Byrne, Juni Habel, Kings Place review - finely tuned evening balancing dark with light

It’s probably an unconscious action. Sat on a stage-centre chair, Julie Byrne sings. The two acoustic guitars she plays for about half the set are beside her, on their racks. One hand is above the other, palms down. Each moves side-to-side in a...

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Album: Susanna - Baudelaire & Orchestra

After his death in 1867, it didn’t take long for Charles Baudelaire’s poems to be set to music. Composer Henri Duparc did so in 1870, but Claude Debussy’s late 1880s framing of five of the Symbolist pioneer’s verses confirmed this as more than a one...

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Album: Lindstrøm - Everyone Else is a Stranger

The response to this album will depend almost entirely on whether the listener regards Norwegian electronic musician Hans-Peter Lindstrøm’s Seventies-synth-wizard-goes-disco thing as tasty noodle or just noodle.He’s tried on many hats over the years...

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Concert Theatre DSCH, Norwegian CO, Oslo Opera House Scene 2 review - Shostakovich choreographed for strings and accordion

Do we really need instrumental Shostakovich with lighting, movement, costumes and video projection? I might have said no before having seen what the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra could do with former leader Terje Tønnesen, performing the Chamber...

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