mon 18/10/2021

Shostakovich

Ólafsson, Philharmonia, Järvi, BBC Proms review - a ravishing Proms debut

What does it mean to be Classical? It’s the question award-winning Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has consistently asked in a career that has collided music from Bach to Debussy, presenting them as part of a single conversation and continuum....

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Classical CDs: Soviet symphonies, popular classics and percussion

 Louise Farrenc; Symphonies 1&3 Insula Orchestra/Laurence Equilbey (Erato)Louise Farrenc’s music is good as you’d expect from a precocious talent who’d studied piano with Hummel and composition with Reicha. Born in 1804, Farrenc’s...

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Carducci Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - complexity and depth

This programme was a bit of a calling card from the Carducci Quartet. They have previously recorded all three works, and the three composers, Haydn, Shostakovich, Beethoven, clearly play to their strengths. Add to that a modest running time, the...

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Classical CDs: Three great conductors remembered, Mahler with accordion and a song cycle with no singer

 André Previn: The Warner Edition – Complete HMV & Teldec Recordings (Warner Classics)Flicking through this box set will provoke a Proustian rush if you’re of a certain age. These recordings were mostly made for EMI, though Warner Classics...

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Wigmore Hall at Portman Square / Wang, LSO, Tilson Thomas, LSO St Luke's review - al fresco chamber, full orchestra indoors

Sometimes the big musical institutions follow off-piste trailblazers. John Gilhooly of the Wigmore Hall has been a hero in lockdown year, keeping musicians paid up and performing to audiences live or via livestream (or both); but it was clarinettist...

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Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a piano. It’s no secret to any opera goer that even the barest outlines of a staging can magnify the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Shostakovich, Chris Watson and Georgia Rodgers

 Mahler: Symphony No. 7 Orchestre National de Lille/Alexandre Bloch (Alpha Classics)Mahler 5’s five movements trace a lucid journey from darkness to light, and No. 6’s tautly-structured outer movements don’t contain a wasted note. Whereas...

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Alban Gerhardt, Markus Becker, Wigmore Hall review - long shadows and rich sounds

It wouldn’t be true to say I’d forgotten what a solo cello in a fine concert hall sounds like; revelation of an admittedly sparse year will undoubtedly remain Sumera’s Cello Concerto played by young Estonian Theodor Sink at the Pärnu Music Festival...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Ives, Plakidis, Shostakovich

 Ives: Universe, Incomplete (Accentus DVD)Charles Ives’s Universe Symphony, conceived for 4,000 musicians positioned on different mountain tops, never saw the light of day. Sketches for the work span his creative life, some made as late as 1948...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Aisha Orazbayeva

 Rachmaninoff in Lucerne – Rhapsody, Op. 43, Symphony No. 3 Behzod Abduraimov (piano), Luzerner Sinfonieorchester/James Gaffigan (Sony)I’m the only person I know who rates Walton’s Symphony No. 2 as highly as his first, and I’m probably also...

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Joanna MacGregor, Adrian Brendel, Gildas Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - gold and silver

Startlingly high levels of expression and focused fire made this rich concert worthy of the dedicatee who radiated those qualities, Jacqueline du Pré. Beyond even that, this Wigmore Hall special was an oddly synaesthesic experience – or maybe I'm...

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Frang, CBSO, Yamada, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - the tingle factor

There’s a particular moment of a particular recording – I suppose every slightly over-obsessive record collector has one – that I just keep listening to over and over again. It’s in Fritz Reiner’s 1960 Chicago Symphony recording of Respighi’s The...

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