fri 23/02/2024

Southbank Centre

Capuçon, Philharmonia, Bancroft, RFH review - enjoyable all-American classics

The Philharmonia’s current season, Let Freedom Ring, celebrates American music through some notably interesting programming. And although last night’s concert was very conventionally structured, with an overture, concerto and big symphony to finish...

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London Film Festival 2023 - Scorsese on Scorsese

Martin Scorsese walks onstage to a hero’s welcome, shoulders a little hunched, with a touch of sideways shuffle or hustle, taking acclaim in his stride at 80. He has sold out London’s 2,700-capacity Royal Festival Hall for the BFI’s biggest Screen...

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Mahler 2, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - an interpretation of superlative resonance and clarity

Epic and intimate, philosophically anguished and rhapsodically transcendent, Mahler’s "Resurrection" Symphony remains one of the most mountainous challenges of the orchestral repertoire. For the opening of the Southbank’s new season Edward Gardner...

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Mad Rush, Carol Williams, RFH review - a rainbow of organ colours

Big Ben was chiming the quarter-hour as I hit the South Bank side of the river after a not terribly inspiring Remain rally in Parliament Square. What delight, then, to hear the wacky and wonderful Carol Williams playing Vierne’s “Carillon de...

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First Person: conductor Edward Gardner on some of his questions and obsessions about Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”“What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.”With these two quotations from Mahler, I already feel like putting my pen down. I had...

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First Person: 'America's sweetheart organist' Carol Williams on running the musical gamut

I have always had a fascination with concert programmes. I did my Doctorate thesis on this subject. I remember vividly as a youngster attending many uninteresting programmes and thinking “there has to be more exciting, exhilarating, interesting...

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The SpongeBob Musical, QEH review - musical based on popular kids' animation sinks for lack of focus

There are many things that you are not told about being a parent, a vast landscape of details that batter you with unwelcome difference from that comfortable life of Friday night prosecco and pizza. One is a whole new palette of garish colours...

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Princess Ida, OAE, Wilson, QEH review - musical brilliance undermined by textual botch

Sullivan’s score for his eighth collaboration with Gilbert is vintage work, mostly equal to the splendid sentinels flanking it, Iolanthe and The Mikado. On Wednesday night master animator John Wilson did its buoyancy and occasional pathos full...

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Phil Wang, RFH review - smut and smarts

Phil Wang has an interesting background: he has a Chinese-Malaysian father and a white English mother, was born in the UK, and spent his childhood in Malaysia before returning to the UK at 16. His comedy has always mined this rich seam, and now in...

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Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer, RFH review - elegy and ecstasy

Standing ovations on the less-than-passionate South Bank can have a dutiful, grudging quality. However, I’ve seldom heard more heartfelt ardour at the Royal Festival Hall than the acclaim for Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra last...

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Pavel Kolesnikov, Samson Tsoy, QEH review - piano magicians conduct themselves beautifully

Shortly before his death, Rachmaninov proposed recording the two-piano version of his swansong Symphonic Dances with Vladimir Horowitz. A curse on that RCA executive who turned the offer down. What amazes is how much pianistic magic can make up for...

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Bell, Dreisig, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - royal rifts, and uplifting Mahler

Brett Dean’s opera Hamlet will play at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in June: the next stage of an acclaimed progress that began at Glyndebourne in 2017. Now on the last stretch of his three-year stint as composer-in-residence with the London...

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