mon 04/07/2022

Southbank Centre

MacMillan Christmas Oratorio, LPO, Elder, RFH review – a new star for the season

The shadow of the cross falls over James MacMillan’s manger. You may come for his work’s consoling, even transporting, beauty and mystery. It’s there in abundance in his new Christmas Oratorio. Yet what may grip hardest are his passages of crashing...

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Soweto Kinch, LSO / 'London Third Stream', London Sinfonietta, EFG London Jazz Festival review - projects from the political to the loop-y

“Take Jazz Seriously,” wrote Maurice Ravel after his American trip in 1928. This past week of the 2021 EFG London Jazz Festival has seen that advice itself being taken seriously, with a bunching of projects and premieres. Jazz musicians have been...

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Jazz Voice, EFG London Jazz Festival review - from intimate delicacy to stunning virtuosity

A celebration of that most extraordinary instrument, the human voice, this year’s edition of Jazz Voice – which gladly welcomed back a live audience and a full-strength EFG London Jazz Festival Orchestra – ranged from music of intimate delicacy to...

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Hahn, Philharmonia, Chan, Royal Festival Hall review – nature's angels and demons

One benefit of the green tide in culture – music included – is that it should allow audiences to approach the arts inspired by the natural world in Britain, and elsewhere, a century ago with fresh ears and eyes. Weary over-familiarity can render a...

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Bluebeard’s Castle 2: Komlósi, Relyea, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - consolations of solitude

Where is the stage – outside or within? The question posed by the prologue of Bartók’s only opera addresses the fundamental privacy of our thoughts, as well as setting the scene for its drama within the theatre of our own minds. For many of us a...

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Colin Currie Group, RFH review - Reich premiere explores fresh territory

Single-composer programmes can be a bit dicey and there was a bit of trepidation approaching this one as Steve Reich is not a composer of massive range: he has been diligently tilling the same patch of soil since the 1970s. But alongside some Reich-...

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Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review - the really big orchestra is back for cosmic Strauss

Two suns, two moons, two Philharmonia leaders sharing a front desk, two aspirational giants among Richard Strauss's symphonic poems bringing the number of players, in the second half, to 134. Who’d have thought we’d be witnessing such phenomena when...

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The Midsummer Marriage, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – Tippett’s cornucopia shines in fits and starts

British opera’s attempted answer to The Magic Flute, and its presentation as the opening gambit of Edward Gardner’s eminent position as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, leave me queasily ambivalent.After all the smoke and...

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Ben Howard, Royal Festival Hall review - authentic and reassuring

Ben Howard is a man of very few words, unless of course, there’s a guitar accompanying them.These are his first shows since the start of lockdown but all he says about that is “thanks for coming out this evening”. Hobbling onto the stage with his...

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Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

“A tonic to the nation”. That was the hoped-for effect of the Festival of Britain in 1951, and its concrete legacy was the Royal Festival Hall. Seventy years on, it’s fitting that English National Ballet should be the first through its doors, post...

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Uchida, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - Bach to the future

In the beginning, 38 years ago, came a career-making Mahler Third Symphony for Esa-Pekka Salonen in his first concert with the Philharmonia. Reassembling that vast epic wouldn't be possible under present circumstances. Last night, ending 13 years as...

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Bronfman, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – celebration around C major

One of the many things we’ll miss when Esa-Pekka Salonen moves on from his 13 years as the Philharmonia’s principal conductor will be his programming. For this first of his farewell concerts, he’s not only chosen what he loves but made sure it all...

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