thu 30/10/2014

Classical music Reviews

The Fall of the House of Usher, Sound Affairs, Malvern

Stephen Walsh

At least three composers have set about turning The Fall of the House of Usher into operas, including most famously Debussy, whose abortive attempt, completed by Robert Orledge, was brilliantly...

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Arcadi Volodos, Royal Festival Hall

Jessica Duchen

Arcadi Volodos is a relatively rare visitor to London these days. Although the Russian pianist, 42, rose early to fame, his development has perhaps taken him in a direction that startles those who...

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Leonskaja/ Pires, Dumay, Meneses, Wigmore Hall

Ismene Brown

What a day for piano-lovers and Beethoven-lovers – Elisabeth Leonskaja for lunch, Maria João Pires for supper. Beethoven from both, stupendous playing from both, all in all generating a general...

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Beatson, Scottish Ensemble, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

I declare an interest. In the last 10 years or so the Scottish Ensemble has twice, at my invitation, visited the Borders village where I live, about 30 miles south of Edinburgh. On both occasions the...

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Malala/A Child of Our Time, Crouch End Festival Chorus, Temple, Barbican

Bernard Hughes

James McCarthy’s oratorio Malala is both a heartfelt tribute to the young Nobel Peace laureate, Malala Yousafzai, and political statement in favour of the education of women. In it, as in its...

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RPO, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Zukerman, Royal Festival Hall

Kimon Daltas

This concert was part of a tour of Canada’s National Arts Centre orchestra to five cities in the UK themed around the anniversary of the start of World War One. The Ottawa-based orchestra joined...

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Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Søndergård, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

Is there an ideal way to programme Metamorphosen? Richard Strauss’s elegiac masterpiece requires 23 solo strings. That’s more than most chamber orchestras can muster, but with a full size symphony...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Prokofiev, Shostakovich

Graham Rickson

 Bach: Partitas 1-6 Igor Levit (piano) (Sony)Martin Geck's sleeve essay accompanying this pair of discs is a good read, hinting at the subtleties and complexities lying just below the surface of...

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quartet-lab, Wigmore Hall

David Nice

Musical theatre needn’t be dominated by the human voice. Instrumental dramas with an element of acting can be a good way into the wonderful world of chamber music for younger audiences, and the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Poulenc, Orbert Davis

Graham Rickson

 Mahler: Symphony no 9 Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Michael Schønwandt (Challenge Classics)The halting, juddering opening of Mahler 9 is nicely characterised in this live reading. Low harp...

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Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall

Sebastian Scotney

Pianist Mitsuko Uchida's concentration, calm and grace under pressure are an inspiration. Towards the end of the first piece on her programme, played to a packed Royal Festival Hall last night, the...

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Sioned Williams, Purcell Room

David Nice

What Anne-Sophie Mutter is to the violin, Alison Balsom to the trumpet and Sabine Meyer to the clarinet, so is Sioned Williams to the harp. Though Meyer had the glass-ceiling distinction of being the...

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Meyer, BBCPO, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Philip Radcliffe

Staying close to his Scandinavian roots, John Storgårds, principal guest conductor of the BBC Phil and chief conductor of the Helsinki Phil, is gearing up for the celebration of Carl Nielsen’s 150th...

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Cargill, Yoshino, SCO, Ticciati, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

“Mahler, with a chamber orchestra?” In his introduction to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s winter season brochure, principal conductor Robin Ticciati anticipates the reaction of an audience brought...

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Mullova, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Philip Radcliffe

Sir Mark Elder has a penchant for taking on large-scale works in Manchester, from operatic concert performances of Wagner and Verdi to Hollywood musicals. Following that line, he kicked off the new...

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A Night Under the Stars: Latin Spirit, Royal Festival Hall

Kimon Daltas

London homelessness charity The Passage was set up in 1980 and has been growing steadily so that it now provides a day centre, short-term hostel and long-term housing in an effort to help street...

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City of London Sinfonia, Layton, Southwark Cathedral

Sebastian Scotney

Stratford-upon-Avon calling. The City of London Sinfonia has embarked on a series of three Bard-based October concerts in London to commemorate the 450th anniversary year of Shakespeare's death. The...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Nielsen, Kristjan Järvi, Benjamin Grosvenor

Graham Rickson

 Nielsen: Symphonies 1 and 4 New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert (Dacapo)Alan Gilbert tears into the opening of Nielsen 4 with some ferocity, sustaining the forward motion very nicely indeed....

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Piau, Les Paladins, Correas, Wigmore Hall

Alexandra Coghlan

2014 is the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean-Philippe Rameau, France’s baroque giant and maverick. To say that the UK celebrations have been muted is to put in generously, reconfirming a...

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Daniil Trifonov, Royal Festival Hall

Jessica Duchen

Daniil Trifonov, 23, has shot to prominence as one of the hottest pianistic properties of the moment. With multiple competition wins behind him, including the Tchaikovsky in his native Russia, plus a...

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