sat 01/08/2015

Classical music Reviews

Prom 19: Alina Ibragimova plays Bach

Alexandra Coghlan

I can’t be alone in often leaving a Proms violin concerto convinced that the Bach encore was the best bit. The Royal Albert Hall is a chameleon space, capable of dwarfing the largest orchestra and...

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Prom 17: Hallé, Elder

Peter Quantrill

Roger Wright may be gone from the BBC Proms, replaced for now by a committee, but his legacy lives on. His zeal to recover areas of English musical culture that may be considered the festival’s...

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Prom 14: Prokofiev Piano Concertos

Gavin Dixon

Gergiev’s programme for this concert raised eyebrows when the Proms were announced: all five Prokofiev piano concertos, presented in chronological order, over the course of a long evening. As it...

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Philharmonia, Davis, Three Choirs Festival

Richard Bratby

In his memoir As I Remember Arthur Bliss is reticent about his experiences on the Western Front. He describes his “purely automatic” impulse to enlist in August 1914, and later recounts the...

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Prom 13: Josefowicz, BBCSO, Mälkki

David Nice

A packed Albert Hall told an instructive story: programme Holst’s The Planets at the Proms and you can dare to do anything in the first half. Besides, though it will be a red letter day when we don’t...

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Matan Porat, Wigmore Hall

David Nice

From now until 12 September, when Wigmore darling Iestyn Davies returns to open the new season, the biggest names in instrumental music are to be heard in the biggest venue, the Albert Hall. With all...

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Prom 12: Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Andsnes 3

Bernard Hughes

After four years, 55 cities in 22 countries and an award-winning recording, Leif Ove Andsnes’s Beethoven journey came to an end last night in an emotionally charged evening at the Royal Albert Hall....

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Prom 10: Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Andsnes 2

Bernard Hughes

So to the second leg of Leif Ove Andsnes's journey through the Beethoven concertos, and a distressingly underpopulated Royal Albert Hall. Perhaps the punters were put off by the wintry weather, or...

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Prom 9: Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Andsnes 1

David Nice

Beethoven’s piano concertos have been no strangers to any Proms season. Only five years ago our own Paul Lewis embarked on a cycle not so very far, in terms of elegance and stylishness, from that of...

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Prom Chamber Music 1: The Cardinall's Musick, Carwood

Matthew Wright

How often do the streets of London throng with concert-goers demanding admission to a recital of Latin motets? Even for Sloane Square, the crowds hoping for a last-minute ticket to the sold-out Proms...

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Prom 4: CBSO, Nelsons

Sebastian Scotney

This Prom was the final concert of Andris Nelsons's remarkable seven-year spell as principal conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Their Prom showed the astonishing level of...

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Prom 1: Vogt, Maltman, BBCSO, Oramo

Gavin Dixon

So it begins. Thousands of expectant audience members in a sweltering Albert Hall – heave ho! – riotous applause for the leader as he tunes the orchestra. A few more visits and all this will seem...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Kit Downes, The Nash Ensemble, John Potter

Graham Rickson

Kit Downes: Tricko Kit Downes (piano, organ), Lucy Railton (cello) (Coup Perdu)No sleeve notes here; just a few oblique words from polymath pianist Kit Downes on the sleeve of this engaging release...

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theartsdesk at the East Neuk Festival: Church strings, garden horns

David Nice

A peninsular spirit of place and the greatest of instrumentalists drew me a second time to the eastern nook (hence the “Neuk”) of Fife. But could a second report for theartsdesk be justified – wasn’t...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Medtner, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky

Graham Rickson

Medtner: Piano Sonatas Alessandro Taverna (Somm)It's tempting to dismiss Nikolai Medtner without having heard a note of his music. Those who dismiss him as a less flamboyant Rachmaninov contemporary...

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Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra, Cadogan Hall

Simon Broughton

2015 is the "Year of Mexico in the United Kingdom" which is why we’ ve got an exhibition on the Mayas in Liverpool, masked wrestlers Luche Libre at the Albert Hall and the country’ s leading symphony...

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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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