wed 22/11/2017

Elgar

First Night of the Proms, BBCSO, Oramo, Gabetta, Borodina

The first notes of the first night of the Proms weren’t the ones expected. Instead of either “God Save the Queen” or simply the start of the Tchaikovsky, the “Marseillaise” rang out into the Royal Albert Hall, the Tricouleur projected in coloured...

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Znaider, LSO, Pappano, Barbican

Anger and fear in Elgar, introspection in middle-period Beethoven: these are undervalued qualities in each composer’s music. Yet such moods were vividly present in two hyper-nuanced interpretations last night. It was easy to believe that no other...

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Coote, CBSO, Wilson, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Can it be true? Was this really the CBSO’s first performance of Bax’s The Garden of Fand? OK, Bax is hardly mainstream repertoire, and if Oramo or Rattle had conducted it, someone would have remembered. Further back in the orchestra’s 96-year...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Elgar, Ives, Reich, Walton

Elgar & Walton Cello Concertos Steven Isserlis (cello), Philharmonia Orchestra/Paavo Järvi (Hyperion)Anyone fearing that their Elgarian mojo might be waning should immediately obtain the BFI’s new remastering of Ken Russell’s glorious early...

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DVD: Ken Russell - The Great Composers

The earliest film collected here, 1963’s Elgar, stands up incredibly well. Some of its quirks were imposed from above: fledgling director Ken Russell was initially employed by the BBC’s Talks Department and was discouraged from using actors in his...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Elgar, Galilei, Scelsi, Vaughan Williams

Vincenzo Galilei: The Well-tempered Lute Žak Osmo (lute) (Hyperion)Bach's Well-tempered Clavier wasn't the first major musical work designed to demonstrate the advantages of an equitable, scientific approach to intonation. Vincenzo Galilei's Libro d...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Elgar, Silvestrov, Hideko Udagawa

 Elgar: Sea Pictures, Polonia, Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1-5 Alice Coote, Hallé/Sir Mark Elder (Hallé)“Foam-flakes cloud the hurrying blast.” Ouch. The texts chosen by Elgar for his Sea Pictures haven't all worn well, though Alice Elgar's...

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Prom 75: The Dream of Gerontius, VPO, Rattle

And so it ends – with angels and archangels and “heart-subduing melody”. The Proms might not officially finish till tomorrow night, but this penultimate concert is always the true close of the season, and what better or more fitting an ending –...

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Prom 17: Hallé, Elder

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 birthright resulted last night in a first Proms...

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The Dream of Gerontius, RSNO, Oundjian, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

To close its 2014-15 season the Royal Scottish National Orchestra chose the choral masterpiece that Elgar preferred not to call an oratorio, The Dream of Gerontius. Performances in Scotland are rare, whether this is because of Presbyterian unease...

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Ehnes, Armstrong, Wigmore Hall

Violinists either fathom the elusive heart and soul of Elgar’s music or miss the mark completely. Canadian James Ehnes, one of the most cultured soloists on the scene today, is the only one I’ve heard since Nigel Kennedy to make the Violin Concerto...

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Batiashvili, Staatskapelle Berlin, Barenboim, RFH

Gasps of surprise were heard across the country last month, when Richard Morrison on BBC Radio 3's "Building a Library" announced Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin as his library choice for Elgar’s Second Symphony. That...

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