sat 30/08/2014

Classical music Reviews

Prom 53: Brahms Symphonies, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer

Jessica Duchen

About 10 minutes into the Brahms Third Symphony I wanted to check a name in the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s programme. I dared to turn a page. Bad idea. Such preternatural stillness had settled...

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Prom 52: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer

Sebastian Scotney

The first of this year's two Proms by the Budapest Festival Orchestra had looked like a rather strange confection, on paper at least. With eleven scheduled contributions, and only two of them...

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Prom 50: Weilerstein, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek

Edward Seckerson

Even as orchestras began to sound more and more alike, there was the Czech Philharmonic. And many of its notable characteristics remain to this day: a modest, homespun quality, warm and engaging and...

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Prom 47: Britten War Requiem, CBSO, BBC Proms Youth Choir, Nelsons

Edward Seckerson

Nothing has resonated through the unfolding First World War commemorations more than the poetry of Wilfred Owen; and in terms of its grim immediacy and enduring heartbreak nothing ever could....

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Wall, Mørk, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Davis, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Edinburgh Festival debut was the most telling example yet of the 2014 festival’s disregard for conventional concert programming. A programme that began with Strauss...

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Prom 46: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Barenboim

David Nice

By the time we got to the end of this Prom, with four of the five encores – the whole of Bizet’s Carmen Suite – cannily crafted to bolster the short official programme, most of the rightly euphoric...

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Prom 43: Skride, BBCSO, Gardner

Edward Seckerson

The Russians were coming - and the prospect of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, even without the added attraction of hearing it in Igor Buketoff’s questionable choral arrangement where the Tsarist hymn...

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I, CULTURE Orchestra, Karabits, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

It is easy to be blinded by the sensational history of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, the “Leningrad”. We cannot forget the famous performance by a starving makeshift orchestra in August 1942, at...

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Lemper, SCO, Foster, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

Twenty years ago Ute Lemper came to the Usher Hall to sing Kurt Weill. The young pretender to the Lotte Lenya throne performed then on a bare stage with little more than a piano as accompaniment....

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Gerhardt, Osborne, Queen's Hall/Keyrouz, Ensemble de la Paix, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh

David Nice

“Ah now, I can’t promise you sun,” says a Scots lady-in-waiting of her native weather to a novice Englishwoman near the start of Rona Munro’s masterly James Plays. It’s the first of many references...

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Prom 34: Piemontesi, BBCNOW, Søndergård

Geoff Brown

Some things that spread like wildfire, like ebola and wildfire itself, are not good news at all. But performing Nielsen’s symphonies? That’s another matter entirely. In the next concert season, the...

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Quartet for the End of Time, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

If you want an image that defines, for this writer at least, the essence of the Edinburgh Festival, it is the sight of Greyfriars Kirk full to capacity at 5.30 pm on a blustery Monday afternoon. At...

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Prom 33: Schwizgebel, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Gardner

David Nice

After the European Union Youth Orchestra hit unsurpassable heights last week, the Proms plateau of excellence remained available to another youth carnival of weird and wonderful 20th century monsters...

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Prom 31: Coote, Hallé, Elder

Edward Seckerson

The levels of refinement now exhibited by the Hallé, the stylishness and elegance of the playing, define the special relationship that they and Mark Elder have cemented over the last decade and a...

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Edinburgh International Festival Opening Concert, RSNO, Knussen, Usher Hall

Christopher Lambton

On paper this was an interesting programme. The Edinburgh Festival traditionally opens with a major choral work, but while the international audience would probably be happy with endlessly recycled...

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Prom 29: Grosvenor, Goode, BBC Philharmonic, Noseda

Geoff Brown

“That,” she said, “is what it must be like when you enter heaven.” And I knew just what my wife meant. The organ was in full regalia, revelling in the marshmallow glory of the chorale theme in Saint-...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Grundman, Messiaen, Aki Kuroda

Graham Rickson

 Jorge Grundman: A Mortuis Resurgere Susana Cordón (soprano), Brodsky Quartet (Chandos)Spanish composer Jorge Grundman was a vocalist and keyboard player in two bands in his teens, and he’s now...

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Prom 28: D'Orazio, Clayton, BBCSO, Oramo

Edward Seckerson

All kinds of narratives were at play in this Prom from the BBC Symphony Orchestra and its Principal Conductor Sakari Oramo - and perhaps the truly adventurous programmer might have double-deployed...

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Prom 27: Trusler, BBCNOW, Wigglesworth/Inspire Workshop, Royal Albert Hall

David Nice

A full day began and ended with Elgar the European, or rather the citizen of the world. After all, the Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, played with panache by 180 young musicians in a morning meet-...

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Prom 26: European Union Youth Orchestra, London Voices, Petrenko

Alexandra Coghlan

The symphony – that structural pillar of classical music – found itself under siege last night at the Proms. Both Berio’s Sinfonia and Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony assault and subvert, reshape and...

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