thu 18/12/2014

Classical music Reviews

Fretwork, Shoreditch Church

Sebastian Scotney

There is nothing quite like Fretwork at their best. When the viol consort put themselves through their paces in the music of the late 16th and the 17th centuries, with music by Byrd, Dowland, Lawes...

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Ohlsson, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

David Nice

How disorienting it is to find century-old works in the concert repertoire of which you can still say “I’ve never heard anything like it”. That must have been the reaction of most audience members...

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Le Concert Spirituel, Christ Church Spitalfields

Kimon Daltas

The magnificent Christ Church Spitalfields is a masterpiece of the British baroque and very much an ideal venue for this Spitalfields Winter Festival visit by French period instrument group Le...

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Messiah, OAE, Howarth, Royal Festival Hall

Alexandra Coghlan

Goldilocks would not have been a good conductor. There’s a reason why there isn’t a dynamic marking between mezzo forte and mezzo piano. Mezzo on its own would be a pretty bland state of affairs, sat...

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Siglo de Oro, Allies, Shoreditch Church

Geoff Brown

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Greed Tuesday: they all vanished from memory once the first notes of Siglo de Oro’s Christmas-themed concert started. This young British choir, now six years old, began...

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Stefanovich, Currie, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Gavin Dixon

Tamara Stefanovich and Colin Currie – a dream team for Birtwistle’s The Axe Manual. Both are new music specialists with a gift for grace and dexterity, even in the most complex works. The score sets...

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Garbarek, Hilliard Ensemble, King's College Chapel Cambridge

Sebastian Scotney

This was “Officium – the final concert.” The Hilliard Ensemble took their decision around three years ago to disband as a group, and – for three of them – to retire, rather than to re-launch with a...

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Aimard, LPO, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Geoff Brown

In words and music Harrison Birtwistle isn’t always as gruff as he’s been painted. Interviewed over the summer during one of his 80th birthday Prom concerts, the composer tossed off enough humorous...

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Birtwistle 80th Birthday Concert, London Sinfonietta, Atherton, Paterson, QEH

Bernard Hughes

Sir Harrison Birtwistle has never sought to make life easy for his audiences, nor for interviewers, often giving short shrift to both. His music is as uncompromising as his carefully curated public...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Christina Sandsengen

Graham Rickson

 Prokofiev: Symphonies 1 and 2, Sinfonietta Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Kirill Karabits (Onyx)Only two of Prokofiev's seven symphonies seem to be performed with any regularity. Of the...

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Levit, LPO, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

David Nice

If Brahms’s First Symphony has long been dubbed “Beethoven’s Tenth”, then the 23-year-old Rachmaninov’s First merits the label of “Tchaikovsky’s Seventh” (a genuine candidate for that title,...

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Chung, Kenner, Royal Festival Hall

David Nice

In one way, it makes sense to give your London comeback concert in the venue where you made your European debut 44 years ago. Yet the Royal Festival Hall is a mighty big place for a violin-and-piano...

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Queyras, Melnikov, Wigmore Hall

Sebastian Scotney

Even the most reluctant of completists should find the prospect of the Beethoven works for cello and piano undaunting. In their totality, these pieces consist of just five sonatas and three sets of...

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OAE, Tognetti, Queen Elizabeth Hall

David Nice

As I sat, engaged and occasionally charmed but not always as impressed as I’d been told I would be, through violinist-animateur Richard Tognetti’s lightish seven-course taster menu of string music...

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Tsujii, RLPO, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Glyn Môn Hughes

The knots on the purse-strings have certainly been untied at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and it was good to hear another world première in less than a week. This time it was the turn of Michael...

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Vogt, LPO, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Edward Seckerson

Music lovers invariably divide into two factions over the Brahms piano concertos: those who thrill to the elemental D minor and those who prefer to bask in the more reflective charms of the sumptuous...

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BBC Singers, BBCSO, Pons, Barbican

David Nice

Had the BBC Symphony Orchestra been at full stretch, rather than in the neoclassical and otherwise selective formations of last night’s concert, it might have outnumbered the live audience. Perhaps I...

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Samuelsen Duo, RLPO, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Glyn Môn Hughes

Major change is afoot at the Liverpool Philharmonic. The new season has just opened as Philharmonic Hall has been undergoing a major refurbishment and earlier concerts during the autumn were held in...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Hindemith, Colin Matthews, Walton, The Vocal Constructivists

Graham Rickson

 Colin Matthews: No Man's Land, Crossing the Alps, Aftertones Hallé Orchestra, Hallé Choir, Hallé Youth Choir/Nicholas Collon and Richard Wilberforce, with Ian Bostridge (tenor) and Roderick...

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Leonskaja, SCO, Kamu, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

David Nice

Most pianists never truly master one of Brahms’s two piano concertos, those colossal symphonies for soloist and orchestra, let alone both. To present the two in one concert, then, seems foolhardy –...

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