thu 24/10/2019

Rachmaninov

Preludes, Southwark Playhouse review - journeying into the mind of Rachmaninoff

Where does music come from? That’s the vital question posed to Sergei Rachmaninoff in Dave Malloy’s extraordinary 2015 chamber work, as the great late-Romantic Russian composer – stuck in his third year of harrowing writer’s block – tries to...

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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 23: Floristán, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon review - concerto lacks heft

Ben Gernon is only 30 (and looks about ten years younger) but has been Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic since 2017. He really impressed in last night’s Prom but, after an exciting overture, things fell away a bit with an under-...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - the beautiful and the damned

Our greatest Berlioz scholar, David Cairns, has called Le Damnation de Faust “an opera of the mind’s eye, not of the stage,” and I’ve certainly never seen a production that successfully staged its curious, episodic, actionless mixture of set piece,...

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A Previn treasury

In a way, he was a second Bernstein. Only 11 years Lenny's junior, and living to the much riper age of 89 – his 90th birthday would have been on 6 April – André Previn was a film composer and arranger at the start of his 70-plus-year career, a jazz...

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Rachvelishvili, ROH Orchestra, Pappano, Royal Opera House review - perfect night and day

There's now something of a gala atmosphere when the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House takes to the Covent Garden stage with its music director Antonio Pappano. Admittedly some of the players are not the same as when he took up his tenure, but the...

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Lupu, Philharmonia, Järvi, RFH review - concerto magical in parts, symphony stupendous

Pianists most often cite Radu Lupu alongside Martha Argerich and Grigory Sokolov as the greatest. So it was hardly surprising to see so many top musicians in a packed audience, buzzing with expectation for the 73-year-old Romanian's most recent UK...

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Kempf, Devin, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Sinaisky, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - aglow but not alight

In the fourth performance of their UK tour, with Vassily Sinaisky replacing an indisposed Yuri Temirkanov, the St Petersburg Philharmonic gave a warm and rousing performance at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Prokofiev’s First Symphony – written in "...

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Two-Piano Marathon, Kings Place review - dazzling duos, deep waters

You get a lot of notes for your money in a two-piano recital - especially when seven pianists share the honours for two and a half hours' worth of playing time. Well, they did call it a marathon, crowning the London Piano Festival so shiningly...

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Nikolai Lugansky / Pavel Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall review - lucidity and depth from two master pianists

Reaching for philosophical terms seems appropriate enough for two deep thinkers among Russian pianists (strictly speaking, Kolesnikov is Siberian-born, London-based). In what Kant defined as the phenomenal world, the tangible circumstances, there...

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'Their DNA is forever ingrained in the keys' - Roman Rabinovich on playing composers' own pianos

I was recently in the UK for some solo recitals and to make my debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of the trip was playing a similar programme in two very different settings: first on some magnificent period...

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London Piano Festival, Kings Place review - feasts of fearless fingerwork

What has 12 hands, 18 legs, 176 keys and two page-turners? Party night at the London Piano Festival, of course. The six-pianist, two-piano marathon on Saturday evening was a high point of this delectable four-day event – though far from the only one...

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