sat 15/12/2018

World War One

War Requiem, English National Opera review - a striking spectacle, but oddly unmoving

We’re not good at lack these days. Just look at the concert hall, where increasingly you turn up to find not just an orchestra and soloists but a giant screen. Videos, projections, live speakers, "virtual choirs"; if there’s so much as a chink of an...

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Our Classical Century, BBC Four review - enthusiasm and delight

Jerusalem! This fact-studded story of 20th century British music told us that the nation's unofficial national anthem, Hubert Parry’s setting of William Blake’s poem, originated in 1916 as a commission from the “Fight for Right” movement. Officials...

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War Horse, National Theatre review - still touching after all these years

War Horse at the National Theatre on Sunday’s Armistice Day centenary: there were medalled veterans and at least one priest in the rows in front, dark suits and poppies all around, and scarcely a youngster in sight. When the bells rang out in a...

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They Shall Not Grow Old, BBC Two review - Peter Jackson's Great War finale

Peter Jackson has form when it comes to re-examining cinema history. In 1995 he made Forgotten Silver, a documentary about Colin McKenzie, a New Zealand filmmaker who not only made the first sound recordings but also invented the tracking shot and...

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Classical CDs Weekly: A Walk with Ivor Gurney, Yiddish Glory, For the Fallen

 A Walk with Ivor Gurney Tenebrae, Aurora Orchestra, Sarah Connolly, Simon Callow, Nigel Short (conductor) (Signum Classics)Ivor Gurney was a genuine polymath, a talented composer and poet whose career was disrupted by serving with the...

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WW1: The Last Tommies, BBC Four review - Great War stories

“Why should I go out and kill somebody I never knew? There was no reason at all in it in my way of thinking.” Britain’s very last Tommy was Harry Patch, born in 1898, conscripted in 1916 and still alive on his 111th birthday in 2009. He was one of...

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Bury the Dead, Finborough Theatre review - American rarity comes scathingly to life

Bury the Dead was penned by Irwin Shaw in 1936, when the prolific American writer was a fledgling playwright in his early 20s. The Finborough Theatre production marks its first professional UK staging in 80 years and matches this milestone with a...

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Square Rounds, Finborough Theatre review - the science behind warfare, told in verse

The title of Tony Harrison's teacherly entertainment – it can't be called a play – refers to the square bullets invented by James Puckle to kill Muslims in the 18th century. This shocking morsel of information is provided by the brothers Hiram and...

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Prom 72, War Requiem, RSNO, Oundjian review - the pity, and the spectacle, of war

A day after John Eliot Gardiner and wandering violist Antoine Tamestit had converted the Royal Albert Hall into a sonic map of Hector Berlioz’s Italy, conductor Peter Oundjian and his full-strength divisions transported us to the Western Front....

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The Guardians review - beautifully crafted drama

A slow tracking shot over the gassed corpses of soldiers, their masks having failed the ecstasy of fumbling, opens The Guardians. This French art house film would perhaps have been better served by the English title The Caretakers; it's...

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Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One, Tate Britain review - all in the mind

Not far into Aftermath, Tate Britain’s new exhibition looking at how the experience of World War One shaped artists working in its wake, hangs a group of photographs by Pierre Anthony-Thouret depicting the damage inflicted on Reims. Heavy censorship...

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Journey's End review - requiem for the poor bloody infantry

With Dunkirk and Darkest Hour threatening to storm the Oscars, it seems there’s suddenly plenty of mileage in portraits of the British at war. There have been several film and TV versions of RC Sherriff’s World War One play, Journey’s End, since it...

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