wed 17/01/2018

Classical Features

Best of 2017: Classical concerts

david Nice

Did Simon Rattle's return to the UK as Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra live up to the hype? Mostly, and when it did, the music-making was superbly alive.

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Bach Cantatas - not just for Christmas

david Nice

Faced with yet another new work premiered by the Borodin Quartet, Shostakovich asked a daunting question: "but have you played all of Haydn's quartets yet?". Of course they hadn't, and felt justly rebuked.

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theartsdesk in Stockholm - HK Gruber and sacred monsters

david Nice

It was excellent, flesh-creepy fun back in 1978, when a young Simon Rattle conducted the Liverpool world premiere with the composer declaiming, but how well has Austrian maverick H(einz) K(arl) "Nali" Gruber's "pandemonium" for chansonnier and orchestra Frankenstein!! stood the test of time? One word: brilliantly.

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theartsdesk in Katowice - energy and imagination at the Fitelberg Conducting Competition

Gavin Dixon

Music competitions are big in Poland. Every five years the classical music world turns its attention to Warsaw for the International Chopin Piano Competition, with much commentary and speculation, and a succession celebrity laureated to maintain its global reputation.

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

Anneke Scott

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 and can be regularly heard performing in principal chairs with a number of leading period instrument orchestras.

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'Their DNA is forever ingrained in the keys' - Roman Rabinovich on playing composers' own pianos

Roman Rabinovich

I was recently in the UK for some solo recitals and to make my debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of the trip was playing a similar programme in two very different settings: first on some magnificent period instruments and then a week later on a modern Steinway piano at Wigmore Hall.

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In search of Proust's 'Vinteuil Sonata': violinist Maria Milstein on the writer's musical mystery

Maria Milstein

I remember very well the first time I read Swann’s Way, the first part of Marcel Proust’s monumental masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu).

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Lammermuir Festival 2017 review - rich and deeply rewarding

David Kettle

Increasingly, the Lammermuir Festival is – one audience member whispered conspiratorially to me – what East Lothian music lovers are switching to alongside the Edinburgh International Festival. It’s insidious to compare, of course – but still, you can see the attraction.

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Michael Volpe on a Requiem for Grenfell: 'one of the most remarkable evenings in our history'

Michael Volpe

On the morning of the Grenfell Tower disaster, as the news of the fire gathered pace and gravity, our phones were abuzz with concern for our front of house colleague, Debbie Lamprell, who we knew lived in the tower. We all called her number time and again, sought to reassure one another with optimistic scenarios whereby her telephone may have been left at home as she escaped. My telephone rang again.

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Pick of the 2017 BBC Proms: from Orthodox chant to Oklahoma!

theartsdesk

It’s the best-looking Proms season on paper for quite a few years.

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