mon 15/04/2024

piano

Schubert Piano Sonatas 4, Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - feverish and sometimes violent

“Death doesn’t scare me at all,” said my friend Christopher Hitchens during our last telephone conversation. “After all, it’s the only certainty in life. Dying, however, scares me shitless”.However hard one tries to remove these three final sonatas...

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The Art of Fugue, Schiff, Nosrati, Wigmore Hall review - rarity and quality in music and performance

At the start of his 75-minute pre-concert lecture on Sunday, the incomparable András Schiff staked quite a claim for the piece he was about to perform: Bach’s The Art of Fugue was, he said: “the greatest work by the greatest composer who ever lived...

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Lugansky, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Letonja, Cadogan Hall review - Russian soul, French flair

To judge by the post-interval empty seats near me, some of the Cadogan Hall audience had turned up last night solely to hear Nikolai Lugansky play Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. Well, the more fool them. For sure they would have enjoyed their...

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Ablogin, SCO, Emelyanychev, City Halls, Glasgow review - a happy 50th birthday

The mood was indeed celebratory at Glasgow’s City Halls on Friday evening for the second of two concerts celebrating the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s 50th birthday. It opened with a suite from Figaro Gets a Divorce, a comic opera written by composer...

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review - every note of Brahms’ late genius carefully weighed

Successful performances, conductor Robin Ticciati once suggested to me, are when “the head has a conversation with the heart”. The same goes, surely, for great music, though from personal experience one has to reach a certain age to find that true...

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Boris Giltburg, Wigmore Hall review - epic heaven and hell

With rapid, sleight-of-hand flicks between calm assurance and demonic agitation, Boris Giltburg turned in a coherent and epic recital that won’t be surpassed in 2024. Most pianists would quake simply at the thought of performing the four Chopin...

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Mariam Batsashvili, Wigmore Hall review - spectacular pianism, with a sense of fun

For a small nation, with a population not quite comparable to Scotland’s, Georgia has for long packed a mighty musical punch. Any visitor will know the soul-wrenching power of its choral polyphony, but a post-Soviet generation of classical soloists...

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Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - Schubert sonatas revisited

A decade has passed since Paul Lewis concluded an endeavour of a kind never previously undertaken: to perform, over two and a half years and across four continents, every work Schubert wrote for piano between 1822, the year he was diagnosed with...

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Grosvenor, SCO, Emelyanychev, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - lightness of touch and a sprinkling of humour

Nobody would describe Felix Mendelssohn as a fringe composer, but his piano concertos aren’t exactly central classical repertoire either. They lack the foundational status of Mozart’s and the high Romantic seriousness of Beethoven’s or Brahms’, and...

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Ben Folds, Royal Albert Hall review - piano pyrotechnics and modern musings

When Ben Folds emerged in the mid-90s he was like Billy Joel’s snot-nosed little brother: another virtuoso pianist and songwriter but one whose style was sarcastic, subversive and a little bit punky.He has now mellowed into something of an elder...

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Hiromi's Sonicwonder, EFG London Jazz Festival, Barbican review - keyboard fireworks from a brilliantly versatile jazz pianist

To watch virtuoso jazz pianist Hiromi perform is to experience a vast weather system of sound; at some moments exuberant hailstorms of notes alternate with thunderous chords, at others, sombre atonal passages resolve into a burst of sunshine.By any...

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Lang Lang, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - playing with the music

The showman was back – and, bless him, he can still sell every seat in a big hall even if the programme offers close on an hour and a half of unalloyed Bach.Lang Lang’s gifts are phenomenal: he doesn’t just play music brilliantly, every now and then...

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