tue 16/04/2024

Southbank Centre

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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National Youth Orchestra, Gourlay, RFH review - non-stop jamboree at the highest level

What a manifesto against those in power who seem determined to knock the UK off its hard-won classical music pedestal: hundreds of young choristers and instrumentalists of two fabulous orchestras in a week-long celebration of innovative programming...

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Fröst, Philharmonia, Lazarova, Kuusisto, Southbank Centre review - congenial new works complemented by live-wire classics

Anna Clyne’s engaging First Person here led me to two of her works in a Philharmonia rainbow. She curated a woodwind-based gem of a 6pm programme of works by four women composers, herself included, and her Clarinet Concerto could only gain from two...

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First Person: Anna Clyne on composing collaborations, not battles, in her latest concertos

Collaboration fuels a lot of my music – I love the interaction that takes me outside of my natural tendencies – it’s a source of inspiration and an opportunity to see my own music and creative process through a different lens.This past season I had...

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Mahler’s Third Symphony, Philharmonia, Paavo Järvi, RFH review - phosphorescent glow, depths only glimpsed

This longest, wackiest and most riskily diverse of Third Symphonies became Esa-Pekka Salonen’s personal property during his years as the Philharmonia's Principal Conductor. His successor, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, has (in)famously said he’s not...

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Suzanne Vega, Royal Festival Hall review - the years melt away

It’s almost 40 years, but I still vividly remember the excitement of hearing Suzanne Vega for the first time. Singer-songwriters had always mattered to me, even though I grew up in the vacuous era of glamrock and insipid teen idols such as David and...

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LPO, Adès, RFH review - tempests and infernos

I was really looking forward to hearing music from Thomas Adès’s ballet The Dante Project again, after being so excited by it at the Royal Ballet last year. By contrast, I was seriously disappointed by his opera of The Tempest in 2003, and hoped to...

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Transatlantic Sessions, Southbank Centre - an evening of stellar music-making

It all ended in great style, the 20th edition of The Transatlantic Sessions which closed out its tour at London’s Southbank Centre on Saturday. The line-up of musicians is, of course, an embarras de richesse: a house band led by Aly Bain, master...

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