mon 25/09/2017

21st century

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power review - Al Gore's urgent update

When An Inconvenient Truth won the best documentary Oscar 10 years ago, the film’s success marked two significant events: a positive turning point in the campaign to avert environmental catastrophe; and the resurrection of the public career of Al...

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CD: James Heather - Stories From Far Away on Piano

The blossoming of modern classical into a serious commercial contender has been an unexpected recent development. Then again, it should come as no surprise that in a world raddled by stuff to hear and look at 24/7, people are turning to music that...

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Silver Birch, Garsington Opera review - gritty drama in the Chilterns

"Everyone suddenly burst out singing"’ wrote Siegfried Sassoon in his paean to humanity amidst the horror of war, "Everyone Sang". And sing they did, all 180 of them, crammed onto Garsington’s modest stage for its new community opera Silver Birch by...

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The Exhibition Road Quarter review, V&A - an intelligent and much needed expansion

Oh those Victorians!  Hail Prince Albert whose far-sighted ambition led to Albertopolis, embracing museums, galleries, universities and the Royal Albert Hall. And what in the early 21st century do you do with the Victoria & Albert Museum...

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Highlights from Photo London 2017 - virtual reality meets vintage treasure

At heart, Photo London is a selling fair for expensive photographic prints. You wander through the steamy labyrinth of Somerset House from gallery show to gallery show surrounded by black-clad snapperati, assaulted on all sides by images until lost...

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CD: Oumou Sangaré - Mogoya

Contemporary music from Mali hovers delicately (and creatively) between purist tradition and more or less successful attempts at making things more attractive to a younger and worldwide audience. Oumou Sangaré’s first five albums for the British...

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in vain, London Sinfonietta, Lubman, Royal Festival Hall

If Georg Friedrich Haas’s in vain was a work of political protest when it premiered in 2000, in 2017 it’s a piece that reads more like a commentary – a disturbing musical documentary that captures nearly 20 years of escalating European tensions,...

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Ma, New York Philharmonic, Gilbert, Barbican

John Adams, greatest communicator among living front-rank composers, zoomed into the follow-spot for the second and third concerts of the New York Philharmonic's Barbican mini-residency. Harmonielehre, his first epic symphony in all but name, and...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Hell or High Water

In American mythology, the frontier offered a clean slate, the opportunity to escape from the shadow of the past and live heroically. But, as with everything else in the context of the American Dream, which continues to unfold in real life as if it...

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Alan Bennett’s Diaries, BBC Two

Gather round the fire, friends: no Santa down the chimney this Christmas Eve, but the curiously comforting Alan Bennett, with his sardonic and occasionally optimistic diaries. The latest published instalment has the slightly wry title Keeping On...

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theartsdesk in Budapest: Prophecy in the world's best concert hall

August 1914, September 2001, all of 2016: these are the dates Hungary's late, great writer Péter Esterházy served up for the non-linear narrative of his friend Péter Eötvös's Halleluja - Oratorium Balbulum. Its Hungarian premiere in one of the world...

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CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Is there anything on a concert programme more guaranteed to make the heart lift – or to prove that a conductor has their musical priorities straight – than a Haydn symphony? If you're tired of Haydn, you're tired of life: there’s no music more...

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