sat 18/01/2020

Southbank Centre

Sukanya, RFH review - Ravi Shankar's bright-eyed, varied fable

Admirable as it was of the London Philharmonic Orchestra to launch its concerts in 2020 with a performance celebrating the Ravi Shankar centenary, the hard fact remains that this lively spectacle might have worked better without two-thirds of its...

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Watkins, Clayton, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - a rainbow cornucopia

Horns fanfared, coasted and chorused through yet another Philharmonia winner of a concert to match the impressive planning of its Weimar season last year. Between the dark-woods harmonies of Weber's Overture to Der Freischütz and the scampery of...

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'Divinity is all around us': soprano Susanna Hurrell on Ravi Shankar's 'Sukanya'

In 2010, my best friend and I made a whimsical decision to go backpacking in India over the Easter break. I had developed an interest in Eastern philosophy through exposure to the teachings of the ancient Vedas, and through the practice of...

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Rufus and Martha Wainwright, A Not So Silent Night, RFH review - Christmas, family-style

It’s 10 years this month since Kate McGarrigle gave her last concert, the annual Christmas concert that meant so much to her, at the Royal Albert Hall. Next month, 18 January, marks the first decade since her passing at the tragically early age of...

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Haas Hommage à Bridget Riley, London Sinfonietta, Lubman, QEH review - vibrant abstraction

Music and visual art, at least at the highest level, should go their own separate ways; put them together, and one form will always be subordinate to the other. A composer being inspired by an artist's work, or vice versa, is something else...

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Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945. The side of a "Grimes bus" today would probably proclaim over...

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Behzod Abduraimov, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - enchanting engagement and breathtaking virtuosity

Given the number of audience members playing air-piano along with parts of Pictures at an Exhibition, Behzod Abduraimov should perhaps be described as a pianist’s pianist. He is nevertheless a great deal more than that. Ten years ago this young...

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Cleveland Watkiss 60th birthday celebration, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - seismic pulse, emotive words

Whether performing with the ground-breaking Jazz Warriors big band (which he co-founded in the 1980s) or Marque Gilmore and DJ Le Rouge in Project 23, taking the lead roles in Julian Joseph’s jazz operas Bridgetower and Shadowball, or emceeing one...

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Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi review, Royal Festival Hall - musical togetherness

Leonard Bernstein talked about “the infinite variety of music” and the late maestro would have been thrilled by the variety on display at the Royal Festival Hall where Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi were as exciting and exhilarating as...

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Jazz Voice, Royal Festival Hall - engulfing beauty and hidden gems

Jazz Voice unfailingly supplies a gigantic sugar-rush of auditory pleasure, and this year’s edition was no exception. Arranged, scored and conducted by the brilliant Guy Barker, the evening’s opener saw rising US vocalist Judi Jackson and the EFG...

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Wegener, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review – on the revolutionary road to Mahler

For better or worse, because of Visconti’s classic film the Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony now inevitably means Venice in its gloomiest moods. So there turned out to be a grim timeliness in a performance on an evening that coincided with the...

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'The Academy and I': composer and viola-player Sally Beamish on a special relationship

I was 13. It was a Saturday, and Mum was working. On this occasion she asked if I’d like to come along and bring a book. I was wearing a dress I’d made myself – psychedelic orange and pink, with red edging. It was 1969. I don’t remember what the...

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