mon 16/01/2017

Classical Reviews

The Last Supper, BBCSSO, Brabbins, City Halls, Glasgow

David Kettle

You can tell it’s a big deal when even a handful of London critics abandon the capital for a Saturday evening in chilly Glasgow.

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Mr Swallow - Houdini, Soho Theatre

veronica Lee

Nick Mohammed doesn't do things by halves as his chatty airhead alter ego Mr Swallow. Forget the scholarly approach of finely researched biographies of Harry Houdini (“boring!”); his “first-ever entirely true auto-biopic” of the magician and escapologist comes complete with conjuring tricks, song-and-dance numbers and a whole lot of laughs.

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Bavouzet, BBCPO, Collon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Robert Beale

Colin Matthews’s arrangements for orchestra of the 24 Debussy Préludes (originally commissioned by the Hallé) have been widely admired. The BBC Philharmonic’s concert, conducted by Nicholas Collon, at the Bridgewater Hall on Friday night began with three of Ravel’s five piano Miroirs, two of them orchestrated by Matthews (one a world premiere) and one by the late Steven Stucky.

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CD: Nadia Rose - Highly Flammable

Matthew Wright

The flaming pigtails say it all. More St Trinian’s than gangsta, the 23-year-old Croydon rapper Nadia Rose presents (mostly) the lighter side of South London street life. Despite a less than incendiary last place in the BBC’s recent Sound of 2017 competition, Rose had already captured enough attention for Highly Flammable to catch fire with “Boom” and “Station”, 2015’s two feisty singles.

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The Best Films Out Now

theartsdesk

 

A Monster Calls ★★★★ Director JA Bayona's fantastical fairytale packs huge emotional wallop

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Le Grand Macabre, LSO, Rattle, Barbican

david Nice

The Big Mac – as in Ligeti's music-theatre fantasia on the possible death of Death – is here to stay. Back in 1990, three critics (I was one) were invited on to the BBC World Service to say which work from the previous decade we thought would survive. I opted for Le grand macabre, having seen its UK premiere at ENO in 1983; a certain distinguished arts administrator condescended to rejoinder that he thought "even Ligeti has disowned that now".

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Sunday Book: James Lee Burke - The Jealous Kind

Liz Thomson

In the heat of a Texas summer, Aaron Holland Broussard comes of age. It’s 1952:  the two world wars still cast their long shadows and, far away, the Americans are fighting the Russians in a proxy war around the 38th Parallel.

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Roy Acuff

kieron Tyler

In 1942, Roy Acuff set up Acuff-Rose Music in partnership with Nashville-based songwriter and talent scout Fred Rose. The new publishing company was dedicated to treating songwriters decently. They would not be cheated out of their copyrights. There would be clear and honest accounting. The contracts offered would have better percentages than rival publishers. There would be no shady deals.

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CD: Petite Meller - Lil Empire

thomas H Green

God knows we need originality in pop, and French singer Petite Meller delivers it. At least, she does visually, which, in 2017, is 50 percent of the game. Like Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord, she offers a direct subversion of femininity. However, where Visser is confrontationally satirical, Meller’s image is uncomfortable, creepy even, Picnic at Hanging Rock Victoriana by way of rouged baby doll mannequin weirdness. The music is more straightforward.

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Written on Skin, Royal Opera

alexandra Coghlan

There’s a passage in Martin Crimp’s impeccable libretto for Written on Skin that describes a page of illuminated manuscript. The ink, he tells us, stays forever wet – alive with moist, fleshy, indecent human reality rather than dried into decorous fixity. As a metaphor for storytelling, it’s potent; as a description of George Benjamin’s score, it’s close to literal.

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latest in today

The Last Supper, BBCSSO, Brabbins, City Halls, Glasgow

You can tell it’s a big deal when even a handful of London critics abandon the capital for a Saturday evening in chilly Glasgow. And there were...

Mr Swallow - Houdini, Soho Theatre

Nick Mohammed doesn't do things by halves as his chatty airhead alter ego Mr Swallow. Forget the scholarly approach of finely researched...

Bavouzet, BBCPO, Collon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Colin Matthews’s arrangements for orchestra of the 24 Debussy Préludes (originally commissioned by the Hallé) have been widely admired....

CD: Nadia Rose - Highly Flammable

The flaming pigtails say it all. More St Trinian’s than gangsta, the 23-year-old Croydon rapper Nadia Rose presents (mostly) the lighter...

Le Grand Macabre, LSO, Rattle, Barbican

The Big Mac – as in Ligeti's music-theatre fantasia on the possible death of Death – is here to stay. Back in 1990, three critics (I was...

Sunday Book: James Lee Burke - The Jealous Kind

In the heat of a Texas summer, Aaron Holland Broussard comes of age. It’s 1952:  the two world wars still cast their long shadows and, far...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Roy Acuff

In 1942, Roy Acuff set up Acuff-Rose Music in partnership with Nashville-based songwriter and talent scout Fred Rose. The new publishing company...

CD: Petite Meller - Lil Empire

God knows we need originality in pop, and French singer Petite Meller delivers it. At least, she does visually, which, in 2017, is 50 percent of...

Written on Skin, Royal Opera

There’s a passage in Martin Crimp’s impeccable libretto for Written on Skin that describes a page of illuminated manuscript. The ink, he...