sun 05/07/2015

Classical music Reviews

Zimerman, LSO, Rattle, Barbican

Peter Quantrill

Over the past decade Krystian Zimerman and Sir Simon Rattle have created and evolved a performing idea of Brahms’s D minor piano concerto which is still remarkable for its considered weight and...

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NYCC, NYJO, Southwark Cathedral

David Nice

Cleopatra in her barge gliding down the nave of Southwark Cathedral? Only figuratively, in the hypnotic “Half the Fun” movement of Duke Ellington’s constantly surprising Shakespeare compendium Such...

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Max Raabe, Wigmore Hall

Sebastian Scotney

Fair exchange? German humour, perhaps? We send Her Maj off to the Fatherland for a State Visit, and the Embassy of the Federal Republic in London reciprocates by bringing us the popular singing...

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Continuum Ensemble, Headlam, Kings Place

Gavin Dixon

Zeitoper, single scene micro-opera for modern times, enjoyed a brief vogue in the Weimar era, but disappeared as fast the Republic itself. This programme from the Continuum Ensemble resurrected four...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Dubois, Grieg, Martinů

Graham Rickson

 Théodore Dubois: Musique Sacrée et Symphonique, Musique de chambre (Ediciones Singulare)Théodore Dubois is the sort of figure whose grave you'd expect to stumble upon in Père Lachaise Cemetery...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gál, Prokofiev, Raffi Besalyan

Graham Rickson

Hans Gál: Symphonies 1-4 Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods (Avie)Previously paired with those by Schumann, Hans Gál'sfour symphonies are now sensibly repackaged as a slimline two-cd set. Musicians...

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Juntunen, Philharmonia, Ashkenazy, RFH

David Nice

Vladimir Ashkenazy should be made an honorary Finn: not just for his constant championship of Sibelius’s orchestral works throughout his conducting life so far, but above all for the way he...

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Phantasm, Elizabeth Kenny, Wigmore Hall

Alexandra Coghlan

There’s an intimacy, an interiority, to music for viol consort that even the string quartet can’t match. The physical placement of the three members of Phantasm who opened this concert of music by...

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Schubert Sonatas 4, Barenboim, RFH

Jessica Duchen

One man and his piano can occasionally fulfil a role more satisfying than the finest orchestra in full sail. The last of Daniel Barenboim's four-recital traversal of Schubert's piano sonatas proved...

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Jansen, LSO, Harding, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

How to respond to Mahler? That was the challenge set by the London Symphony Orchestra to Edward Rushton when they commissioned him to write an opener for this programme. Rushton’s response was to...

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Schubert Sonatas 3, Barenboim, RFH

David Nice

“You don’t love Schubert’s music?” Such, according to the greatest of living Schubert interpreters Elisabeth Leonskaja, was the response of her mentor Sviatoslav Richter to students who omitted the...

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The Dream of Gerontius, RSNO, Oundjian, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

To close its 2014-15 season the Royal Scottish National Orchestra chose the choral masterpiece that Elgar preferred not to call an oratorio, The Dream of Gerontius. Performances in Scotland are rare...

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Schubert Sonatas 2, Barenboim, RFH

Gavin Dixon

Personality is essential for Schubert’s piano sonatas. Listen to two recordings of the same one and you could easily think they are different works, such is the performer's input. Daniel Barenboim...

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Schubert Sonatas 1, Barenboim, RFH

Jessica Duchen

It’s not often that you arrive for a piano recital to see members of the audience on the stage, clustering around the instrument and taking photos of it. Those curious about the newly unveiled,...

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Ehnes, Armstrong, Wigmore Hall

David Nice

Violinists either fathom the elusive heart and soul of Elgar’s music or miss the mark completely. Canadian James Ehnes, one of the most cultured soloists on the scene today, is the only one I’ve...

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Tetzlaff, LSO, Harding, Barbican

Alexandra Coghlan

With Kavakos, Faust, Shaham and Skride already been and gone, and Jansen, Ehnes, Bell and Ibragimova still to come, the LSO’s International Violin Festival has nothing left to prove. We’re not short...

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Kozhukhin, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

David Nice

No two symphonic swansongs could be more different than Sibelius’s heart-of-darkness Tapiola and Nielsen’s enigmatically joky Sixth Symphony. In its evasive yet organic jumpiness, the Danish composer...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Shostakovich, Henrik Schwarz

Graham Rickson

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Florilegium, dir. Ashley Solomon (Channel Classics)This is a predictably satisfying pair of discs, another outstanding set of period-instrument Brandenburgs from a crack...

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Leçons de Ténèbres, Devine, St John's Smith Square

Sebastian Scotney

This penultimate night of the London (formally Lufthansa) Festival of Baroque Music brought beautiful, intelligent, superbly musical singing from two sopranos Julia Doyle and Grace Davidson, who sang...

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The Creation, SCO, Christophers, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

For the Scottish Chamber Orchestra the transition from its home in the Queen’s Hall to the much larger spaces of Usher Hall is not always a happy one. Earlier this season an experimental performance...

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