thu 23/11/2017

chamber music

Schubert Ensemble, Kings Place review - spot-on introductions, dazzling performances

To demonstrate what makes chamber masterpieces tick and then to play them, brilliantly, is a sequence which ought to happen more often. Perhaps too many musicians think their eloquence is confined to their instruments. Not violinist Simon Blendis...

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Sughayer, Manchester Camerata Soloists, Manchester Cathedral

Two works whose whole significance depends on (unspoken) sacred texts made a stimulating combination for a concert in Manchester Cathedral’s sacred space. Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross – usually heard in its string...

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Stoller Hall Opening, Chetham's School of Music, Manchester

The opening of a new concert hall offers two options for opinionizing: the venue itself – or the performances in it? Review the acoustics – or the music? It has to be a mixture of the two, in the end. Chetham’s School of Music, in Manchester, has...

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Best of 2016: Classical

Revelations in the classical year never stop coming. Even the week before Christmas yielded two performances as good as you're going to get: the sheer effervescence and light-flourishing of Lucy Crowe in ecstatic Bach and Mozart with La Nuova Musica...

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St Lawrence String Quartet, Wigmore Hall

John Adams, let's face it, was the reason many of us came to hear the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Their performances and recordings as dedicatees of his labyrinthine First String Quartet and Absolute Jest, in which the four players function as...

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Modulus Quartet, Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe

"Total immersion", the term used for the BBC Symphony's one-composer days, takes on a whole new meaning in the Thames Tunnel Shaft now transformed – but fortunately not subject to makeover – under the mantle of Rotherhithe's Brunel Museum. All the...

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theartsdesk at the Rosendal Festival: Schubert above a fjord

More than just a great and serious pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes is a Mensch. His special gift in recent years has been to bring young musicians just establishing their careers together with star players like himself in beautiful and/or interesting...

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East Neuk Festival 2016

All the best festivals develop organically, with a guiding hand from the best directors. When I first came to the East Neuk Festival two years ago, on its 10th anniversary, it was already a special case, thriving on the spirit of place and including...

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Nocturnes for Midsummer

After a grey start, there was a spectacular sunset around midnight on the second of my two days in Reykjavik. It's what brings one of Iceland's most brilliant younger-generation talents, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson (and yes, he's worked with Björk),...

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Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch, Wigmore Hall

Some chamber ensembles flourish through creative conflict, contrast and tension. Others streamline their approach, not so much relinquishing individuality as allowing the best of each to blend into more than the sum of their parts. The Trio Shaham...

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Mitchell, Atkins, Johnston, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

It was a simple yet beautifully elegant way for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to kick off its 2016 chamber concerts: a recital for flute, viola and harp, with Debussy’s beguiling Sonata as the centrepiece, and other contrasting music for the same...

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Elizabeth, Royal Ballet

Please, sir, I want some more. Will Tuckett and Alasdair Middleton's Elizabeth is soul food for the hungry dance fan; an ingenious blend of words, music and dance that beguiles and entertains in equal measure. The shame is that it will be seen by so...

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