thu 22/10/2020

Proms

Prom 63: Wang, Staatskapelle Dresden, Chung review – private passions

Weirdly enough, it was “Tea for Two” that definitively proved her class for me. As a second encore to Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, after a mesmeric transcription of that composer’s Vocalise, Yuja Wang’s goodbye treat channelled the mighty Art...

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Prom 60: Ax, Vienna Philharmonic, Haitink review - moving mountains at 90

His movements are minimal (perhaps they always were). A more intense flick of the baton, a sudden wider sweep of the expressive left hand, can help quicken a tempo, draw extra firepower from the players, but Bernard Haitink's conducting is still the...

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Prom 59: Benvenuto Cellini, Monteverdi Choir, ORR, Gardiner review - don't stop the carnival

So we never got the ultimate Proms spectacular, the four brass bands at the points of the Albert Hall compass for Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts, in the composer's 150th anniversary year. Yet Sir John Eliot Gardiner has learnt how to work the...

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Prom 55: Jephtha, SCO & Chorus, Egarr review - shock of the new in sacrificial oratorio

Human sacrifice has a disconcerting and wonderful effect upon great composers, above all when it involves the supremely queasy issue of a father vowing to offer up his child: think of Britten with Abraham and Isaac, Mozart with Idomeneo and Idamante...

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Prom 53: Connolly, Gregory, Tappan, BBCSO & Chorus, Davis review - citizens of the world unite

Let's be clear: this was a Prom of world-class works by English composers, not a conservative concert of English music. Politically speaking, Elgar was one of the few on the right, but how different inwardly, speaking through the poet Arthur O’...

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Prom 51: Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne review - smooth classic without depth

Can we go back to an older Glyndebourne-at-the-Proms vintage, where the chosen production was merely sketched out with variations suited to the venue, and performed in whatever evening dress might be appropriate? Certainly one wishes that director-...

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Prom 47: Schönheit, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Nelsons review - Bruckner doesn’t quite take flight

After Thursday night’s concert I celebrated the Proms’ exploration of unfamiliar repertoire via the CBSO. The following evening saw the festival diving back into mainstream repertoire – as it must also do – conducted by the CBSO’s previous music...

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Bach's Multiple Concertos/ Manon Lescaut reviews - dancing harpsichords, perfect Puccini

Puccini's and Abbé Prévost's glitter-seduced Manon Lescaut might have been inclined to linger longer in the salon of dirty old man Geronte if he'd served her up not his own madrigals but Bach's music for various harpsichords and ensemble. Five such...

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Prom 46: Kanneh-Mason, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla review - brilliant programme, brilliant playing

Let us never tire of singing the praises of the Proms, nor ever take them for granted. For two months concerts, many of which would be the highlight of any ‘normal’ week, keep coming night after night. And for all that it is a critic’s job to...

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Prom 44: Finley, LSO & Chorus, Orfeó Català, Rattle review - lurid inter-war triptych

So the Proms ignored the Berlioz anniversary challenge to perform his Requiem and serve up four brass bands at the points of the Albert Hall compass. Yet at least last night in works of the 1920s and 1930s we got one offstage in the crazed baggy-...

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Prom 43: Haefliger, BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo review – the frisson of the new

Time was, not long ago, when the very word “premiere” was enough to ensure a sizeable smattering of red plush holes in the Royal Albert Hall audience. It seemed people did not want to risk attending new works for fear they would sound ghastly. Any...

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Prom 41: Ghindin, LPO, Jurowski review - perfect sound in a Russian spectacular

It was a Disney theme-park of Russian music, and in an entirely good way: none of the usual rides, but plenty of heroes and villains, sad spirits and whistling witches, orientalia from the fringes of empire, pagan processionals and apocalyptic...

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