wed 28/02/2024

Rachmaninov

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...

Read more...

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....

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

Bartlett, LPO, Mathieson, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne review – Rhymes, Rhapsody and Winter Daydreams

Who could have imagined the table-turning controversy that might have cast doubt on the inclusion of works by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky when planning this programme?Before raising the baton, Holly Mathieson expressed the hope that Russian music...

Read more...

Bournemouth SO, Karabits, Lighthouse, Poole review - go east!

Focusing on music composed in the former countries of the old Soviet Union, the BSO’s latest concert in Kirill Karabits’ ongoing enterprising series Voices from the East featured the UK premiere of the Second Symphony by Chary Nurymov (1940-1993), a...

Read more...

Feng, CBSO, Wilson, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - effortless expression

As the conductor of English National Opera’s 2018 production of Porgy and Bess, there can’t be many maestros in the UK who can currently match John Wilson’s knowledge of that extraordinary score. And there are surely none who can rival Wilson’s...

Read more...
Subscribe to Rachmaninov