sun 22/09/2019

Soviet Union

Classical CDs Weekly: Stewart Goodyear, Nielsen, Weinberg

 Stewart Goodyear: Callaloo, Piano Sonata; Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue Stewart Goodyear (piano), Chineke! Orchestra/Wayne Marshall (Orchid Classics)Callaloo is Stewart Goodyear’s indecently entertaining suite for piano and orchestra, the title...

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Svetlana Alexievich: Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories review - anything but childish

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories is a collection of oral testimonies conducted between 1978-2004 with Soviet and post-Soviet citizens who were children during the second world war. They recount strange and terrible...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on its (re)publication in English a decade ago was acclaimed as one of the greatest Russian (and not only Russian) novels of the 20th century. For its sense of the sheer...

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Blu-ray: Khrustalyov, My Car!

The title of Khrustalyov, My Car! comes, infamously, from the words uttered by NKVD chief Lavrenty Beria as he departed the scene of Stalin’s death in March 1953, and Alexei German’s film comes as close as cinema can to dissecting the surreal terror...

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The Bay at Nice, Menier Chocolate Factory review - David Hare talkfest takes intermittent wing

David Hare knows a thing or two about sustaining an onstage face-off. Skylight and The Breath of Life consist tantalisingly of little else and so, for the most part, does his 1986 curiosity The Bay at Nice, which I caught back in the day during a...

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Best of 2018: Classical CDs

Record shops may be thin on the ground, but CDs are still very much with us. No sensible soul would ever rate listening to a recording over experiencing music live. But if, like me, time, money and geography limit one’s opportunities to nip out to...

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Blu-ray: A Gentle Creature

“To our enormous suffering!” There are many macabre vodka toasts, accompanied by some appropriately gruelling visuals, in A Gentle Creature, but that one surely best captures the beyond-nihilist mood of Sergei Loznitsa’s 2017 Cannes competition...

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h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Marina Gerner on Russian art

On a recent visit to the Royal Academy, I noticed a tall, elegantly dressed man who spent quite some time admiring a square object attached to the wall. I wondered whether to tell him that far from being Russian avant-garde art, which was the theme...

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theartsdesk in Riga - 43,290 Latvians sing and dance for their country

"They incessantly break down, destroy and fragment the mistrust that exists among people," wrote a Latvian journalist of a folklore group during the start of the Baltic countries' "singing revolution" against Soviet rule in 1988. This is the recent...

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theartsdesk in Minsk: feasting with Belarus Free Theatre

Budzma! (Cheers!) At a long, food-laden table in a noisy room of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, a toast is proposed. We clink glasses and drain moonshine. This happens once, twice, five, 10 times. Between the toasts comes a wave of passionate...

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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Kneehigh on tour review - sweetest musical Chagalliana

Time flies so much more beguilingly in Daniel Jamieson and Emma Rice's 90-minute musical fantasia than it ever has, for me, in Bock and Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof – and the songs aren't bad, either. The inspiration here – and inspiration's the...

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Radically different: Horn player Anneke Scott on The Prince Regent's Band

The Prince Regent’s Band was formed in 2013 and, like very many chamber ensembles, was created when a group of us found that we shared a number of interests in common. The musicians that make up the ensemble are all specialist historic brass players...

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