sat 15/06/2019

Proms

Prom 55, Lisztes, Lendvai, Lendvay, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer review - unity and strength

There seems no limit to the sheer creativity that fizzes from Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra. For their second night at the Proms, packed out this time, the theme was the meeting of classical and Gypsy musical traditions. And...

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Prom 54, Richter, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer review - independent-minded Hungarians return

Two heartening facts first. Iván Fischer's much-loved crew remains one of the few world-class orchestras with an individual voice, centred on lean, athletic strings adaptable to Fischer's febrile focus (perfect for Enescu and Bartók, not quite so...

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall 6, BBC Singers, Oramo review - excellent choristers need to diversify

Those of us schooled in the English choral tradition know and love Hubert Parry's "My soul, there is a country", but few have sung or heard it live as the first of a mighty cycle. Parry completed the six Songs of Farewell not long before his death...

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Prom 45, Capuçon, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Nott - scintillating new era for Swiss magicians

Who is the greatest British conductor in charge of a major orchestra? It's subjective, but my answer is not what you might expect. Jonathan Nott has done all his major work so far on the continent. He left the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in excellent...

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Prom 44, Gringytė, CBSO, Morlot review - eloquently sculpted Gallic riches

This should have been the third much-anticipated Prom of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's inspiring communicator-in-chief Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. She's now on maternity leave. So those of us who hadn't experienced Ludovic Morlot live before...

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Prom 43, Batiashvili, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Barenboim review – from Russia with love

The days are long gone when a Proms gig by Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra felt like a life-changing visitation by a major prophet. Expectations of the ensemble he and the scholar-writer Edward Said founded in 1999 to encourage...

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Prom 42, Buniatishvili, Estonian Festival Orchestra, Järvi review – bright lights from the North

Music-lovers who normally balk at the sight of national colours in a concert hall would surely have forgiven the little Estonian flags – in stripes of blue, black and white – that waved happily at the conclusion of this Prom. Under the baton of...

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Prom 40, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Bell review - tea-time treats with wit and dash

When did this weird mix-tape fashion take root at the Proms? Just a couple of days after Antonio Pappano ran Haydn into Bernstein without pausing for breath, Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields sought to splice the final yearning...

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theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2018 - Pärt, Leonskaja and friends hard at play

Unanticipated miracles happen every summer in the quiet paradise of Estonia's seaside capital. The first this year came as a total surprise. Having got off the afternoon coach from Riga last Monday and dumped bags at my villa base in Pärnu's garden...

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Prom 39, West Side Story, Wilson review - best heard on the radio

In West Side Story, those great, familiar songs just keep on coming. Already by the end of the first half an hour, there have been “The Jet Song”, “Something’s Coming”, “Maria”, “Tonight” and “America”, and there is no shortage of them still to come...

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Prom 37, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Pappano review – order, and delight, out of chaos

In the beginning, Sir Antonio Pappano created a little chaos of his own. At the outset of this Prom that saw musical shape and form emerge out of primeval aural disorder or ruinous destruction, the conductor chose to elide the opener – the...

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Prom 34, Matthews, BBC Philharmonic, Mena - Anglo-American mixed bag

It was all about the acoustic. Well, almost. Disregarding the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall, there’s a school of thought that believes the Proms is the world’s greatest concert series in the world’s worst hall. Why? Because its...

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