sun 23/06/2024

Proms

Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a fine and fitting finale for Sir Mark

When it was first announced that Mark Elder was to become music director of the Hallé, I phoned a friend who knew him well from serving on his staff at English National Opera in earlier years. “He’s completely devoted,” he said. “He never does...

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Life after Tár: conductors at the 2023 BBC Proms

A conductor who can now add "Gár" to his less flattering sobriquets may not have appeared as advertised at this year's Proms, but surely Chris Christodoulou can find a photo of him punching the air among his 43 years' worth of conductor portraits...

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Prom 65: Bruckner's Eighth, BBCSO, Bychkov review - a friendly giant

Bruckner's behemoth has always had its fervent champions – and its muttering sceptics. The 85-odd minutes of his Eighth Symphony, finally performed after major revisions in 1892, build into a titanic testament. Advocates read into it enough...

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Prom 60: Gerstein, Berlin RSO, Jurowski review - a master conductor returns with his German band

During his transformational time at the helm of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski conducted the complete Threepenny Opera in concert and two performances of Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony which changed my mind about its being good...

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Prom 55: Thibaudet, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Nelsons review - old-style showmanship

Funfairs and dance music, old world and new, should have guaranteed a corker of a second Prom from the Boston Symphony Orchestra with its chief conductor, Andris Nelsons. Glitter it did; but wit, drive and violence took a back seat to showcase...

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Prom 53: Davies, The English Concert, Bezuidenhout review - elegance and elan in late-night Bach

Few singers can match the exhilarating range of counter-tenor Iestyn Davies’ performances, whether it’s in the free-soaring clarity of his voice in rapid recitative-style passages or the white heat of intensity he brings to sustained notes.In this...

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Prom 50: Samson, Academy of Ancient Music review - a gradual build in musical and dramatic intensity

1743 was the year in which Handel presented both the Messiah and Samson to Londoners – and for most audience members the merits of one clearly eclipsed the other. Fascinatingly it was Samson that was seen to be the more successful – after breaking...

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Prom 49: Schumann, Das Paradies und die Peri, LSO, Rattle review - knocking on heaven's door

Have Proms audiences heard it all before? Not by the longest of chalks. Remarkably, last night saw the festival’s first outing for a major work by Robert Schumann.True, an extract from his secular oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri once reached the...

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Prom 42: Cho, Philharmonia, Rouvali review - inflation offset by sweet oases

Chopin’s piano concertos and Strauss “symphonic fantasia” Aus Italien are young men’s music, bursting with inspired ideas, but baggy at times, hard to steer. Elgar’s In the South is up there with the mature Strauss tone poems – even if it couldn’t...

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Prom 39: Schiff, Elbert, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer 3 review - jaw-dropping standards of orchestral playing

The Budapest Festival Orchestra never stops proving what a great ensemble it is. In last night’s concert, the third Prom of its weekend residency, the miraculous ways in which the absurd humour of Ligeti, the deep soulfulness of Bartók and the...

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Prom 38: Audience Choice, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer 2 review - true democracy or tricksy referendum?

It would be worth travelling a long way to hear the Budapest Festival Orchestra giving such a lithe, athletic performance under its founder and Music Director Iván Fischer of Glina’s Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture. That was the Radio 3 and Proms...

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Prom 37: Schiff, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer 1 review - landscapes and mindscapes

“Very traditional, but fun,” ran the verdict of one fellow-traveller as we waited for a bus outside the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night. No one can gainsay the infectious fun that the Budapest Festival Orchestra bring to every gig. For all its...

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