tue 21/05/2024

Schubert

Schubert Piano Sonatas 4, Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - feverish and sometimes violent

“Death doesn’t scare me at all,” said my friend Christopher Hitchens during our last telephone conversation. “After all, it’s the only certainty in life. Dying, however, scares me shitless”.However hard one tries to remove these three final sonatas...

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Winterreise, Clayton, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, QEH review - new maps for the great journey

Like Hamlet or Fidelio, Schubert’s Winterreise can withstand and overcome (almost) any kind of re-imagining. In the case of Hans Zender’s 1993 “composed interpretation” of the work for chamber orchestra – and sundry sound effects – the new model has...

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Classical CDs: Smocks, sins and sea swell

 LICHT: 800 Years of German Lieder Anna Lucia Richter (mezzo-soprano), Ammiel Bushakevitz (hurdy gurdy, harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano, piano) (SWR2/Challenge Classics)LICHT, 800 Years of German Lieder, from Anna Lucia Richter and Ammiel...

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Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - Schubert sonatas revisited

A decade has passed since Paul Lewis concluded an endeavour of a kind never previously undertaken: to perform, over two and a half years and across four continents, every work Schubert wrote for piano between 1822, the year he was diagnosed with...

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Classical CDs: Tambourines, multiphonics and hot chocolate

 Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1-4, Paganini Rhapsody Lukáš Vondráček, Prague Symphony Orchestra/Tomáš Brauner (Supraphon)Yuja Wang, Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel (DG)Yet more Rachmaninov, but I’m not complaining, and comparing...

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Ligeti Day; Kolesnikov/Tsoy, Aldeburgh Festival review - 14 musicians, 16 premieres and 100 metronomes

To give the first performance of a dazzling fantasia in the context of a rangy sunny-evening-to-night concert, as pianists Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy did in glorious Blythburgh Church, merits a gold medal in piano-duo enterprise. To premiere...

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Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - superlative Schubert

Paul Lewis secured his reputation as a leading advocate of the Viennese Classical repertoire with two releases of late Schubert sonatas on Harmonia Mundi. That was 20 years ago, but he returned to Schubert in 2022, with a release of earlier sonatas...

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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: Symphonies, suppers and knitting needles

 Roger Norrington: The Complete Erato Recordings (Erato)Richard Osborne’s booklet essay contains some telling words from Sir Roger Norrington, tucked away at the end of the final paragraph: “I don’t mind if a performance is unhistorical; I do...

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Christian Gerhaher, Gerold Huber, Wigmore Hall review - muted regret and distant longing

There is no mistaking Christian Gerhaher. His voice is a light, agile baritone, and it is utterly distinctive. He is a very verbal singer, and is as happy delivering his lines in a toneless parlando as he is full voice. But when he does increase the...

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Pavel Haas Quartet, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - a scorching team on top form

This is the Pavel Haas Quartet’s second visit to a Scottish festival this summer. They were among the stars of the East Neuk Festival at the start of July, and they were every bit as scorching in this Edinburgh International Festival concert.The...

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Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall review - calm waters run deep

On a night when any brooks running past the Wigmore Hall might have frozen almost solid, Imogen Cooper’s recital travelled on sparkling waters of the highest purity across almost a century of pianistic innovation.As well as the streams and fountains...

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