sat 19/09/2020

period instruments

Prom 62: Barton, OAE, Alsop

A concert of Brahms chamber music I could understand, especially given a balance between early and late. An evening of orchestral Brahms, with or without voices, needs much more special pleading. It didn’t get nearly enough last night. An expanded...

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Daphnis et Églé/La Naissance d'Osiris, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican

Were it not for William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, the vocal and instrumental ensemble he started in Paris in the 1970s, the beauties of the musical French Baroque might have remained a dusty fact of pre-Revolutionary history. As it is,...

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Alright on the Night: at Glyndebourne with the OAE

If you only ever listened to opera from recordings, you might overlook the fact that it's as much theatre as it is music. In the opera house on the night, it's all well and good for the orchestra to play the score and the singers to sing their parts...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Cage, Madetoja, Mussorgsky, Ravel, Scarlatti

 Madetoja: Symphonies 1&3, Okon Fuoko Suite Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgårds (Ondine)The first movement of Leevi Madetoja's Symphony no 1 approaches perfection. The opening gesture is arresting, and the lilting second subject...

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Sonia Prina, Wigmore Hall

The great Marilyn Horne used to joke that she was going to release an album entitled “Chestnuts for Chest Nuts”. She never did, but that leaves the door wide open for Sonia Prina whose dark, thrillingly low sound marks her out as the real deal, a...

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Phaëton, Les Talens Lyriques, Rousset, Barbican Hall

Excess of light and heat sends sun-god Apollo’s son Phaeton tumbling from his father’s chariot. The light was iridescent and the temperature well conditioned as peerless Christophe Rousset led his period-instrument Les Talens Lyriques and a variable...

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Schiff, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Queen Elizabeth Hall

You’d not expect Einstein to have daubed Amadeus’s Ninth Piano Concerto with the label “Mozart’s Eroica”. The really famous one didn’t : that piece of punditry came not from Albert the Great but Alfred the (musicologist) Lesser. Embarrassingly, the...

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Joyce DiDonato, Il Complesso Barocco, Barbican Hall

It may look like a sure-fire hit to let Kansas mezzo Joyce DiDonato rip through the drama-queen repertoire of the Baroque. But last night’s exploration of the dustiest, most overgrown byways of 17th and 18th century Italian opera needed every drop...

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Aimard, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rattle, Royal Festival Hall

The repertoire of the OAE is creeping away from the 18th century and into the 20th with such unashamed eagerness, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see them throwing up an urtext edition of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" in a few seasons. Last...

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Handel's Alcina, Barbican

Classical music does not get any cooler than mezzo Vesselina Kasarova. She jived. She grooved. She shuffled. She shimmied. She possessed the Barbican stage last night, an awesome black jumpsuit hanging off her rangy, kinetic figure, her neck...

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Mingardo, Gritton, The English Concert, Bicket, Barbican

Before Mozart, there was Pergolesi. The 18th century couldn't get enough of the Neapolitan prodigy. He was the first great tragic musical wünderkind of the Enlightenment, prefiguring what Mozart would become for the 19th century. Like Mozart,...

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Rolando Villazón, Gabrieli Players, Royal Festival Hall

Since the passing of Luciano Pavarotti, there’s been a gigantic hole for a tenor of gold-plated opera chops and the gift of communication, and Rolando Villazón - young as he is, at only 38 - already appears to have sealed that gap up effortlessly....

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