mon 23/04/2018

Proms

Best of 2017: Classical concerts

Did Simon Rattle's return to the UK as Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra live up to the hype? Mostly, and when it did, the music-making was superbly alive. But it's vital to observe that another orchestra and chief conductor have...

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Podium nitrate: Conductors at the 2017 Proms

What do conductors actually do? It's a question that concert-goers, as well as listeners and viewers of the BBC Proms, often ponder. Conductors may not make a sound, but what they certainly do is put on a performance, the minutiae of which are...

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Last Night of the Proms review: Stemme, BBCSO, Oramo - international array, abundant blue and gold

The Last Night of the Proms is always a beautifully choreographed event, and this year’s was no exception. The format changes little, but each year a new selection of works is chosen to fill the slots. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, always the backbone...

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Prom 72 review: Vienna Philharmonic, Harding - uncertain Mahler Six partly redeemed by brass

Outlines of a real face had begun to emerge in Daniel Harding’s conducting personality. His youthful rise to the top initially yielded neutral concerts with the LSO and a glassy, overpraised recording of Mahler’s Tenth in the Deryck Cooke completion...

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Prom 73 review: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 1, Schiff - glorious solo voyage across Bach's universe

Amazingly, last night Sir András Schiff scored a Proms first with his performance of Book One of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. Never before has even half of the sublime and seminal “48” taken the Royal Albert Hall stage in unmutilated form...

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Prom 70 review: Denk, BBCSO, Canellakis - high, lucid and bright

It can’t be too long before “women” no longer needs to prefix “conductors” to define what’s still a rare breed. Yet seven at the Proms is certainly an improvement, with many more coming up through the ranks. And American Karina Canellakis turned out...

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Proms 67 & 68 review: Freiburg Baroque, Heras-Casado / Mariinsky, Gergiev - reformation and revolution

Even tuning up, the multinational musicians of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra make a lovely sound, well-anchored by the tug of four period-instrument cellos and three basses, yet buoyant and stippled with upper-wind colours, flutes circling and...

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Proms 64 & 66 review: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gatti - halfway to paradise with Bruckner and Mahler

How do you get to heaven, especially if you need to reach the pearly gates by way of the earthbound acoustics of the Royal Albert Hall? With Chief Conductor Daniele Gatti as their spirit guide, the sumptuously arrayed pilgrim band of the Royal...

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Prom 63 review: Gerstein, BBCSO, Bychkov - total mastery of orchestral sound

No-one, least of all the players, will forget Semyon Bychkov’s 2009 Proms appearance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a poleaxing interpretation of Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony. They had already made the history books this Proms season with a...

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Prom 61 review: Fleming, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Oramo - heliotropic ecstasies

No sunshine without shadows was one possible theme rippling through this diva sandwich of a Prom. Even Richard Strauss's chaste nymph Daphne, achieving longed-for metamorphosis as a tree, finds darkness among the roots; and though Renée "The...

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall review: Pavel Kolesnikov - Chopin takes flight

If individual greatness is to be found in the way an artist begins and ends a phrase, or finds magical transitions both within and between pieces, then Pavel Kolesnikov is already up there with the top pianists. Listeners tuning in midway through...

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Proms at... & Prom 56 reviews: Multi-Story Orchestra / BBCSO, Hrůša - the best of all possible worlds

There we had it, in one extraordinary Proms day: the brave new world of contemporary classical music for all in a repurposed Peckham car park followed by the consolidation of the old order in all-Czech programming of remarkable originality and...

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