tue 15/10/2019

Wigmore Hall

Brockes-Passion, Arcangelo, Cohen, Wigmore Hall review – hybrid Handel

Handel’s Brockes-Passion is a curious piece - sacred but not liturgical, and with a strong influence from opera, though it is a concert work. Solo voices predominate, and the singers assembled at Wigmore Hall were mostly fine. Jonathan Cohen and his...

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Leonskaja, Ferchtman, Várdai, Wigmore Hall review - direct line to Schubert's genius

From the epic-lyric heaven storming of Beethoven's last three piano sonatas to the lyric-epic dances on the volcano of Schubert's two late piano trios isn't so big a leap, especially when you have the clairvoyant poise between colossal and intimate...

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Beethoven Festival Weekend, Wigmore Hall review 1 - sparkle and charisma versus creative overkill

While the Proms were ringing out the old season, the Wigmore Hall ushered in the big celebration of 2020: the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth. The venue’s year-long festival (actually longer – the actual birthday is December ‘20)...

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Beethoven Festival Weekend, Wigmore Hall review 2 - total mastery in tone and depth

Any festival would be proud and honoured to end with the great Elisabeth Leonskaja playing the last three Beethoven piano sonatas. Here the Everest was swiftly scaled as the tenth concert of a packed Wigmore Hall weekend. How I wish I could have...

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Django Bates Belovèd Trio, Evan Parker, Wigmore Hall review – a one-off or a premiere?

"Genius" is a word to be used sparingly, but Django Bates surely is one. “A musical polymath and prodigiously gifted composer” went the citation for his Ivor Award a few weeks ago. “Joyful, insouciant and insanely clever,” wrote Evan Parker in a...

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'A product not only of his era but also of his travels': Ian Page on Mozart's cosmopolitan education

When Mozart was an established composer living in Vienna during the final years of his short life, a young student seemingly came to him to seek his advice. The would-be young composer said that he was planning to write a symphony, and asked Mozart...

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Ax, Keenlyside, Dover Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – celebratory Schumann

Emanuel Ax here celebrated his 70th birthday with an all-Schumann recital. In fact, it was an all-Schumann marathon, a three-hour concert at Wigmore Hall featuring solo works, Dichterliebe with Simon Keenlyside, and, with the Dover Quartet, the...

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review – full-spectrum Bach from a prodigious talent

You seldom hear a Champions League-level roar of approval at the Wigmore Hall. Last night, though, Igor Levit drew a throaty collective bark of appreciation from the audience after (for once) an awed hush had followed the final dying cadences of the...

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Takács Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – strong voices in a glorious group

When critics praise a first-rank string quartet, convention demands they claim that the whole adds up to more than the sum of its parts. True enough, maybe, but with the Takács Quartet, each separate element really does blaze with a soloistic,...

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Hardenberger, Pöntinen, Wigmore Hall review - superstar trumpeter shows his class

There can be no questioning trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger’s extraordinary mastery: his big, unforced sound, mellifluous legato, athletic virtuosity and utterly controlled high notes. But his well-attested commitment to the avant-garde led the Wigmore...

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Clara Mouriz, Roderick Williams, Joseph Middleton, Wigmore Hall review - the song recital as mixtape

It’s the age of the mixtape. And of the Only Connect sequences round. Last night’s Wigmore Hall song recital, under the curious strap-line “Basque Blood and the Folksong” was centred around Ravel songs – the Wigmore Hall has a focus on them this...

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JACK Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – superlative Elliott Carter quartets

At Wigmore Hall the JACK Quartet presented the complete Elliott Carter string quartets in a single day – an astonishing feat given the scale and complexity of the music. One of Carter’s many achievements here is the self-sufficiency of each of his...

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