sat 31/10/2020

Southbank Centre

Julia Bullock, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – bewitching dreamscapes

Nobody would wish it this way, but orchestras playing on a stage specially built-up for distancing to a handful of invitees have never sounded better in the Royal Festival Hall. The Philharmonia’s outgoing principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is a...

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Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review – wide range of American voices

There’s an old rule in the theatre that you don’t have to go on if there are more people on stage than in the audience. Last night I counted less than 15 people listening in the cavernous auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall pitted against a fairly...

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Tasmin Little Farewell Recital, RFH review - memories, tributes and dreams

Bidding farewell to the Royal Festival Hall, Tasmin Little was at the very peak of her powers. It’s almost unthinkable that we will never see her play here again. Many have hoped that she’d be one of those musicians who announce their retirement...

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Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, Sode, Chineke! Orchestra, Edusei, RFH review - protest, passion and joy

During the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London earlier this year, a black man named Patrick Hutchinson hoisted over his shoulder an injured white man from the counter-protest of the English Defence League and carried him to safety. The...

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Finley, LPO, Gardner, Royal Festival Hall (p)review - special magic ready for streaming

There was a rainbow over the Royal Festival Hall as I crossed one of the Hungerford foot bridges for the first time in six months. The lights and noises inside did not betray the augury. Was it the sheer hallucinatory pleasure of being within the...

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Beethoven: 1808 Reconstructed, Aimard, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - a feast in fading light

Like it or not, we live – as Beethoven did – in interesting times. In place of the revolutions, wars and occupations that convulsed the cities he knew, we now confront a silent, invisible foe that breeds an equal terror. Hence the empty seats in the...

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Grosvenor, Park, Ridout, Soltani, QEH review - inspired collegiality at the highest level

Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss are not the composers you'd hear at a typical chamber music concert. Their early efforts at piano quartets made up the first half of an evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with Benjamin Grosvenor and friends that...

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Gabetta, NHK SO, Järvi, RFH review - transparency and dynamism

This concert represented the British leg of the NHK Symphony Orchestra’s European tour. Tokyo’s radio orchestra is Japan’s flagship ensemble, and they are fine advocates for the country’s thriving musical culture, the playing precise and the tone...

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Aimard, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Roth, RFH review - Beethoven as avant-gardist

In Beethoven anniversary year, there are three ways to enhance our ongoing concert dialogues with the composer beyond the bog-standard overture-concerto-symphony format: complete cycles of the quartets, symphonies and sonatas, preferably without old...

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Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony, Philharmonia, Hrůša, RFH review - big picture, stunning details

So many performances of Mahler's most theatrical symphony every season, so few conductors who have something radically fresh to say about it. Two who do are London Philharmonic Orchestra chief Vladimir Jurowski, perfecting his vision over the years...

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Blaauw, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - Beethoven seen in '2020 Vision'

It’s Beethoven with everything for 2020, the composer’s 250th anniversary year. But the London Philharmonic has devised an interesting approach for their Beethoven-themed programming. “2020 Vision” is a series of concerts which couple a work by...

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Buniatishvili, RPO, Wigglesworth, RFH review – dark drama and controlled power

Visiting conductor Mark Wigglesworth is a good match for the Royal Philharmonic. The orchestra’s repertoire is usually at the popular end of the spectrum, so they know how to make the most of a good tune. Wigglesworth gives the players the space to...

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