tue 23/04/2019

Philharmonia

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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Biss, Philharmonia, Boyd, RFH review – compulsive life-force

Mozart in E flat (the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro) and in G (the K.453 Piano Concerto), and Schubert in C – the “Great” C major Symphony, no less – ushered spring into the Festival Hall on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon.Slimmed down to a...

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Berlioz Requiem, Spyres, Philharmonia Orchestra, Nelson, St Paul's Cathedral review - masses and voids

Asked to choose five or ten minutes of favourite Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death (yesterday), surely few would select anything from his giant Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts). This is a work to shock and awe, not to be loved - music...

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Lupu, Philharmonia, Järvi, RFH review - concerto magical in parts, symphony stupendous

Pianists most often cite Radu Lupu alongside Martha Argerich and Grigory Sokolov as the greatest. So it was hardly surprising to see so many top musicians in a packed audience, buzzing with expectation for the 73-year-old Romanian's most recent UK...

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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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Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – cosmic perspectives

Space is big – that seems to be the message of Unsuk Chin’s new oratorio Le Chant des Enfants des Étoiles. The work sets texts, ranging from the Baroque to the present day, concerned with space and scale. The work’s cosmic aspirations are reflected...

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Capuçon, Philharmonia, Järvi, RFH review - Dvořák in blazing focus

You can't have too much Dvořák in a single evening, at least not when the works in question operate at the highest level of volatility and melodic abundance like last night's overture, concerto and symphony. "Febrile centrists" might look like an...

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Salonen conducts Sibelius, RFH/Oramo conducts Salonen, Barbican review - Finnish psychedelia

After Sakari Oramo's dazzling Sibelius rattlebag with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the centenary day of Finnish independence, things weren't looking so good for Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia at half time last Thursday (★★★). Then along...

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Kuusisto, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - Icelanders fare better than Sibelius

London orchestras do communicate with each other, sometimes at least, when it comes to programming. It can’t have been a coincidence that on Wednesday we had one Finnish chief conductor, Sakari Oramo launching his BBC Symphony Orchestra Sibelius...

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Prom 24 review: Crebassa, Philharmonia, Salonen – thrilling performance of Adams masterpiece

The title of John Adams’s Naive and Sentimental Music is a bit of a tease. Read literally it promises – or threatens – unsophisticated mawkishness, though that is the last thing it delivers. But maybe it was this title, alongside relatively...

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Buchbinder, Philharmonia, Hrůša, RFH

It's a rare concert when nothing need be questioned about the orchestral playing. The usual nagging doubts – about whether any of the London orchestras has a recognisable sound-identity, or whether Rattle's swipe agains the two main London concert...

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Aimard, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH

A new work by Igor Stravinsky is always going to be a major event, so Sunday evening’s UK premiere of his rediscovered Funeral Song was hotly anticipated. The score disappeared after its first performance and was thought lost in the Russian...

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