tue 17/10/2017

Beethoven

Guy Johnston on his 1714 Tecchler cello - 'every day I start again and explore the possibilities within'

This adventure began in 2014 when my cello turned 300 years old. As birthdays go, it was a big one, so for me it felt important to do something special to celebrate. Why not imagine a journey back to Rome where it was made?The role of the cello has...

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Bridgewater Hall 21st Birthday review - from voice and guitar to four pianos

Every 21st birthday deserves a party, and the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester celebrated the anniversary of its opening with a weekend of fun and "access" events, ending with a recital by four pianists on its four Steinway pianos – playing them all...

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Prom 74: Ax, Vienna Philharmonic, Tilson Thomas review - elegance without passion

The Vienna Philharmonic makes a beautiful sound, no question about that: the question is what to do with it. Michael Tilson Thomas has some ideas, but they are mostly low-key. He is currently touring with the orchestra, and seems to have been chosen...

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Prom 50 review: Josefowicz, Clayton, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla - personality in every bar

Everything you may have read about Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla's wonder-working with her City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is true. Confined to a Turkish hospital bed when their first Prom together took place last August, I wondered from the radio...

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Prom 30 review: Bournemouth SO, Karabits - pagan fire and thunder

A Prom of unrelenting momentum began promisingly with Beethoven, and the false start that opens his First Symphony. On this showing, Kirill Karabits has coached his Bournemouth musicians in the classical repertoire with a dash and flair that brings...

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Prom 10 review: Aurora Orchestra, Collon – a revolution taken to heart

When a trail-blazing orchestra takes on a world-transforming work, it would be pointless to leave the staid old rules of concert etiquette intact. Not only did the Aurora Orchestra under Nicholas Collon stretch their repertoire of symphonies...

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Prom 9 review: Fidelio, BBCPO, Mena - classy prison drama rarely blazes

What a pity Beethoven never composed an appendage to Fidelio called The Sorrows of Young Marzelline. One crucial moment apart, the music he gives to his second soprano in his only opera isn't his best, but Louise Alder so lived the role of the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Beethoven, Louis Frémaux, Les Passions de l’Ame

 Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Herbert Blomstedt (Accentus)There's already an excellent set of Beethoven symphonies conducted by Herbert Blomstedt with the Staatskapelle Dresden, recorded in the late 1970s. It's now on a...

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Pick of the 2017 BBC Proms: from Orthodox chant to Oklahoma!

It’s the best-looking Proms season on paper for quite a few years. That might just be a different way of saying we like it, but no-one could reproach Director David Pickard for lack of original programming or diversity (look at the whole, bigger...

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Fidelio, Longborough Festival review - death to the concept of concepts

Opera directors must, I suppose, direct. But one could wish that they kept their mouths shut, at least outside the rehearsal studio. The condescension in Longborough’s programme-book interview with the director (Orpha Phelan) and designer (Madeleine...

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Britten Sinfonia, Adès, Barbican

Thomas Adès and the Britten Sinfonia here reached the most revolutionary works in their twin portrait season of Gerald Barry and Beethoven: Barry’s Chevaux-de-frise and Beethoven’s "Eroica". Adès, ever-keen to play the iconoclast, emphasised all the...

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Little, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham

The CBSO is justifiably proud of its association with Benjamin Britten. There’s rather less proof that he reciprocated, dismissing the orchestra as "second-rate" after it premiered his War Requiem in 1962. Throughout the 1950s, he’d repeatedly...

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