tue 07/02/2023

Southbank Centre

Philharmonia, Hrůša, RFH review - total brilliance in Bartók, Dvořák and Strauss

Salome was not to get her head on a silver platter: Jennifer Davis, due to sing the bloody final scene of Strauss’s opera, had been experiencing abdominal pains during her first pregnancy – mother and child are fine – and had to withdraw at a late...

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The Damnation of Faust, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - the devil's in the detail

No work gives its listeners such pleasure on the way to hell (and back) as Berlioz’s rule-busting “dramatic legend”, The Damnation of Faust. It delivers not just flamboyant thrills, but low comedy, high drama, pathos, terror, nostalgia, pastoral...

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Ólafsson, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - spirit of delight

This concert was advertised as the completion of an Elgar symphony cycle, though in the absence of the reconstructed Third, that meant the second of two. Both were planned with interesting concerto couplings. The First Symphony was presented with...

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Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - Scrooge goes to Tennessee

We’ve had 75 years to get used to Scrooge McDuck, so we can hardly complain if the Americans indulge in a little cultural appropriation and send Charles Dickens’ misanthrope to Depression-era Tennessee for another whirl on the catharsis-redemption...

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Batiashvili, Philharmonia, Shani, RFH review - Nordic mystery, Alpine tragedy

Sibelius and Mahler so often figure as the irreconcilable chalk and cheese of turn-of-the-century orchestral writing that it can be a salutary experience to hear them together on one bill.For sure, the Finn – whose Violin Concerto Lisa Batiashvili...

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Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - a performance to make the heart beat faster

This greatest of symphonies starts with what’s plausibly described as arrhythmia of the heart, so it shouldn’t have been surprising to find my own racing as Vladimir Jurowski drove a line through the peaks, troughs and convalescences of its massive...

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A Child of Our Time, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - the spirit still moves

Half a century ago, Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time felt inescapable. For a youth-choir singer in the London of that period, his wartime “modern oratorio” supplied a reference-point of ambition and achievement to which our exasperated elders...

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The Manhattan Transfer, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - a class act

On a dreary evening in our dark winter of discontent, a couple of hours spent in the company of The Manhattan Transfer was a joyous uplift. The sell-out audience at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall clearly agreed, happily engaging in a sort-of call-and...

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Watts, Williams, The Bach Choir, Philharmonia, Hill, RFH review - Vaughan Williams, from decadence to metaphysics

David Hill, long-term driving force of the Bach Choir which Vaughan Williams sang in for 18 years before becoming its music director in 1921, claims VW as “a quintessentially English composer”.That was rather less the case in Thursday night's choice...

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First Person: composer and co-founder of The Multi-Story Orchestra Kate Whitley on car-park creativity

We started The Multi-Story Orchestra back in 2011 with a group of friends when we’d left university. Conductor Christopher Stark and I basically wanted to find new ways to play orchestral music that would escape formal concert halls and be more...

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The Hermes Experiment, Purcell Room review - familiar objects, unfamiliar sounds

The Hermes Experiment are the cool kids of the contemporary music school, who have brought a "build-your-own-repertoire" approach to generating music for their unique combination of soprano, clarinet, harp and double bass. As their name would...

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Dongyang Gozupa, Purcell Room review - K-Music’s power trio

A minute before coming on stage, the audience is asked to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the Halloween tragedy in the central Itaewon district of the South Korean capital of Seoul. The stage is dark, clouds of dry ice forming a...

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