wed 22/11/2017

Hungary

On Body and Soul review - terrible beauty, and beasts

Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi’s On Body and Soul (Testrol es lelekrol) opens on a scene of cold. It’s beautiful, a winter forest landscape, deserted except for two deer: a huge stag and a small doe react to one another in the snow, a tentative...

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Senza Sangue/Bluebeard's Castle, Hackney Empire - uneven French-Hungarian mix

Has Hackney ever seen or heard such a spectacle – a full Hungarian orchestra taking up most of the Empire stalls to complete the semi-circle of a relatively empty stage? And did enough of London get to hear about it? I certainly wouldn’t have done...

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theartsdesk at Budapest Wagner Days: Bayreuth on the Danube

While Merkel's Germany has won back world leadership, Wagner's festival shrine at Bayreuth lost its post-war pre-eminence years ago. There hasn't been a strong Ring there since Kupfer's, which I was lucky enough to see in 1991, and things will only...

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DVD/Blu-ray: My 20th Century

Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi’s 1989 debut feature My 20th Century (Az én XX. Századom) opens on a grandiose scene depicting the first public demonstration of Thomas Edison’s electric light-bulb. We see the wonder of onlookers as they ...

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Sebestyén, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer, RFH

This was a very fine concert indeed, plus a lot more. The first half was a very carefully planned series of unveilings around the theme of Béla Bartók and Hungarian folk music, the second an overwhelming performance of his Duke Bluebeard’s...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Beethoven, Rasmussen, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky

 Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op.110 and Op.111, with music by András Szöllösy and Gyula Csapó Gábor Csalog (piano) (BMC)Two Beethoven sonatas coupled with shorter pieces by a pair of contemporary Hungarian composers makes for an engaging mixture....

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Unforgotten – Series 2 Finale, ITV / After Brexit: The Battle for Europe, BBC Two

From Jimmy Savile to the Rotherham scandal, child sexual abuse has become a recurring nightmare of our society, and thus is inevitably grist to the TV dramatist’s mill. It has been a crucial component in The Missing, National Treasure and...

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Le Grand Macabre, LSO, Rattle, Barbican

The Big Mac – as in Ligeti's music-theatre fantasia on the possible death of Death – is here to stay. Back in 1990, three critics (I was one) were invited on to the BBC World Service to say which work from the previous decade we thought...

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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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She Loves Me, Menier Chocolate Factory

There are no cartwheels, and no one does the splits, in the new London revival of that most cherishable of Broadway musicals, She Loves Me, which immediately sets Matthew Wright's Menier Chocolate Factory entry apart from the fresh sighting of the...

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Prom 25: Gerhardt, Komlósi, Relyea, RPO, Dutoit

"Let the song speak, I pray," exhorts the Bard in the Prologue to Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, "Listen in silence." This was a night for leaning in and listening closely, despite the large forces arrayed on stage for Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and Bartók’s...

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Cédric Tiberghien, Wigmore Hall

This programme looked like a non-starter on paper, a long sequence of short Bartók dance settings, followed by a second half that was dominated by works for children from Bartók and Kurtág. But it worked, largely thanks to Cédric Tiberghien’s...

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