fri 23/02/2018

contemporary classical

Dead Man Walking, Barbican review - timely and devastating meditation on human violence and forgiveness

You have to wonder why it has taken this long. Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking premiered in San Francisco back in 2000 and has since been performed over 300 times across the world, staged everywhere from Cape Town to Copenhagen. Only now, 18 years on...

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Explore Ensemble, EXAUDI, St John's Smith Square review - making sense of Nono

This was an evening of silence and shadow, a chill, moonlit meditation, where each sound demanded forensic attention. Enter the world of Luigi Nono and his admirers. As his compatriot Sciarrino wrote of Lo Spazio Inverso, which opened the...

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DVD: London Symphony

Director Alex Barrett’s wordless London Symphony is a conscious throwback to the silent "city symphonies" of the 1920s, specifically Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 Berlin - Symphony of a Great City. You’re also reminded of Terence Davies’s Of Time and the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Sterndale Bennett, Fieri Consort

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2, Strauss: Burleske Joseph Moog (piano), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Nicholas Milton (Onyx)It's not you, it's me. That’s probably what I'd say to Brahms in attempting to explain why I generally prefer his craggy D minor...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Bennett, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

 Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 Berliner Barock Solisten/Reinhard Goebel (Sony)This set’s arrival sent me scurrying back to listen again to Reinhard Goebel's 1985 DG set of Bach’s Brandenburgs with Musica Antiqua Koln: hyperactive, sharp-...

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Joseph Houston, St John's Smith Square review - masterful MC in the theatre of piano

Joseph Houston’s recital gave us the piano exposed, sent up, psychoanalysed; in short, piano as theatre. And whether silently depressing keys or creating chords with an elbow, the young Berlin-based pianist brought formidable focus and unshowy...

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Best of 2017: Classical concerts

Did Simon Rattle's return to the UK as Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra live up to the hype? Mostly, and when it did, the music-making was superbly alive. But it's vital to observe that another orchestra and chief conductor have...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Adams, Schubert, BBC Legends

The John Adams Edition Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by John Adams, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Kirill Petrenko and Sir Simon Rattle (Berliner Philharmoniker)That the Berlin Philharmonic can release a lavish four-disc collection of music by...

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Batiashvili, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - electricity in Sibelius and Hillborg

Even given the peerless standards already set by Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in their Sibelius cycle, this instalment was always going to be the toughest, featuring the most elusive of the symphonies, the Sixth, and the sparest, the...

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Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival review - new generation throws down the gauntlet

Reading the line-up for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival can be a bit of a //+DiGit<ijjjjjjjjjjjjj.ggiiigggggH1-RMXn4000// experience (and no, I haven’t invented those). There are flashing light warnings. Ear defenders are routinely...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Sofya Gulyak, The Prince Regent's Band, Esmerine

 Chaconne - Sofya Gulyak (piano) (Champs Hill Records)Traditionally, a chaconne is an instrumental piece in triple time with a continually repeating bass line. Sofya Gulyak, winner of the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition, gives us seven. Best known...

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Singcircle, Barbican review - veteran ensemble bids farewell with Stockhausen

STIMMUNG is always an event. Stockhausen’s score calls for a ritual as much as a performance, with six singers sitting around a spherical light on a low table, the audience voyeurs at some intimate but unexplained rite. Singcircle has been...

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