mon 23/10/2017

Classical Reviews

Total Immersion: Julian Anderson, Barbican review - BBC ensembles showcase leading British composer

Bernard Hughes

Julian Anderson’s 50th birthday this year was the prompt for the latest of the BBC’s Total Immersion days, devoted to the work of a single contemporary composer.

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Angela Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review – Bach Partitas shine and sing

Bernard Hughes

On paper this was a fairly austere piece of programming. No variety in composer, genre or style, just four Bach Partitas in a row, works of similar approach, length and technique. And yet in performance, in the hands of Angela Hewitt, there was sufficient variety, not to mention poetry, humanity and wit, to make for a completely satisfying recital.

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Ensemble InterContemporain, Pintscher, RFH review - a visit from the gentle ghost of Boulez

Peter Quantrill

The Royal Festival Hall rather belied its name for a visit to London on Saturday of France’s premier new-music ensemble. It can’t be helped that the more intimate space of the Queen Elizabeth Hall next door is presently closed for renovation, but with the balcony and back of the stalls both empty and unlit, the place presented a more dismal aspect than usual.

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Jonas Kaufmann: Tenor for the Ages, BBC Four review - a musical megastar with sword and shortbread

Jessica Duchen

Now we know who sent Jonas Kaufmann the Union Jack boxer shorts for the Last Night of the Proms. Whether the sender’s identity is the bigger surprise, or the hint of ambiguity over whether the "Greatest Tenor in the World" had previously heard of one of Britain’s favourite baritones – well, you decide. And no, we don’t learn who threw the knickers at him from the arena.

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BBCSO, Brabbins, Barbican review - commanding vistas of earth and sea

Gavin Dixon

Dances of earth and songs of sea – the BBC Symphony Orchestra's latest programme offered an inspired coupling, where similar inspirations balanced contrasting styles.

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Uchida, SCO, Ticciati, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - Berlioz steals the show

david Nice

"Mitsuko Uchida plays Mozart" might have been the marketing tag to sell out this first concert in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's 2017-18 season (despite student and free under-18s take-up, the Usher Hall still wasn't full).

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London Piano Festival, Kings Place review - feasts of fearless fingerwork

Jessica Duchen

What has 12 hands, 18 legs, 176 keys and two page-turners? Party night at the London Piano Festival, of course. The six-pianist, two-piano marathon on Saturday evening was a high point of this delectable four-day event – though far from the only one.

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Widmann, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - when Mirga met Jörg

Richard Bratby

Apparently it was Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s idea to invite Jörg Widmann to be the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Artist in Residence this season – indeed, according to backstage rumours she made the phone call herself.

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Roman Rabinovich, Hatchlands review - poetry from Chopin's very own Pleyel piano

david Nice

What pianist wouldn't long to lay fingers on keyboards impregnated, as Roman Rabinovich put it in his introduction yesterday afternoon, with the DNAs of Haydn and Chopin?

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Anne Schwanewilms, Charles Spencer, Wigmore Hall review - going deep in Schubert

david Nice

They say that Wigmore Hall audiences know their Lieder singers, but last night's far from packed house dispelled that illusion; the hall has been full for much lesser artists than German soprano Anne Schwanewilms. No matter; she gave her usual masterclass, ineffably poised between tone-colour, phrasing and word-pointing.

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