sun 21/07/2024

Rachmaninov

Prom 6: Hough, BBC Philharmonic, Mark Wigglesworth review - poetry and power

This Prom by the BBC Philharmonic was billed as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Royal Northern College of Music, in distant Manchester.By design or lucky accident, the RNCM was well represented, with a new work by recent graduate Grace-...

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Osborne, BBC Philharmonic, Glassberg, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - energy and virtuosity

The BBC Philharmonic ended its 2022-23 season in Manchester with a programme that might have been chosen as a showpiece for virtuosity.There was orchestral virtuosity in the form of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, pianistic virtuosity in the shape...

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Pavel Kolesnikov, Samson Tsoy, QEH review - piano magicians conduct themselves beautifully

Shortly before his death, Rachmaninov proposed recording the two-piano version of his swansong Symphonic Dances with Vladimir Horowitz. A curse on that RCA executive who turned the offer down. What amazes is how much pianistic magic can make up for...

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Bartlett, National Symphony Orchestra, Weilerstein, National Concert Hall, Dublin review - edgy darkness, blazing light and high camp

Who’d have thought Florence Price, Rachmaninov, Gershwin and Brahms would all fit the (unspoken) theme of 1930s America? Brahms made the bill by virtue of Schoenberg’s 1937 arrangement of the C minor Piano Quartet, so outlandish and camp that you’d...

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Classical CDs: Fireworks, floods and unpleasant glimpses

 Debussy: Piano Works Volume 2 Dennis Lee (piano) (ICSM Records)I’m a huge fan of Colin Matthews’ idiomatic orchestral transcriptions of Debussy’s Préludes, so much so that it’s been a good few years since I’ve listened to the piano originals....

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Classical CDs: Goblins, tailors and an errant knight

 Eleanor Alberga: Wild Blue Yonder (Navona Records)This is a belated review for an album that came out in 2021, but one well worth a retrospective appraisal. Eleanor Alberga (b.1949) is a British-Jamaican composer, perhaps best known for her...

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Classical CDs: Death, dragons and sea shanties

 The Playhouse Sessions: Bjarte Eike, Barokksolistene (Rubicon)The Playhouse Sessions is a follow-up to the irresistible Alehouse Sessions, in which Bjarte Eikke and his Barokksolistene recreate a 17th century London pub gig, where sea shanties...

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Kolesnikov, Hallé, Elder, Manchester review - commanding Smetana, Rachmaninov and Strauss

As Sir Mark Elder begins his penultimate season as music director of the Hallé, it’s clear that his command of, and communication with, the orchestra are as complete and purpose-driven as ever. It’s the first Thursday series concert of the new...

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Classical CDs: Civil service, bassoon laments and a historic keyboard

 Mozart: The Piano Sonatas (Robert Levin, playing Mozart’s fortepiano) (ECM New Series)There is no doubt about the brilliant uniqueness of pianist, conductor, musicologist and one-time Nadia Boulanger pupil Robert Levin, an influential Harvard...

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Classical CDs: Five-pointed stars, unspecified instrumentation and talented siblings

 Brahms Lieder Anna Lucia Richter (mezzo-soprano), Ammiel Bushakevitz (piano) (Pentatone)Ein süßes Deingedenken: A Tender Memory of Thee – Lieder by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn Kateryna Kasper (soprano), Dmitry Ablogin (piano) (TYXArt)These two...

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The Miserly Knight / Mavra, Scottish Opera review - a bold double act in the heart of Scotland

To stage a double bill of unusual 20th century Russian operas would be brave at the best of times. To do so in the Fair City of Perth amply demonstrates Scottish Opera’s laudable commitment to extend its influence beyond the Edinburgh-Glasgow...

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Wang, Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov, Barbican review - the sound of history

“The past is never dead,” William Faulkner famously wrote. “It’s not even past.” Funny to think that I approached 2022 bored in advance with all the glib celebrations of post-WWI international modernist breakthroughs that the centenary of Ulysses...

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