wed 22/11/2017

Jiří Bělohlávek

Proms at... & Prom 56 reviews: Multi-Story Orchestra / BBCSO, Hrůša - the best of all possible worlds

There we had it, in one extraordinary Proms day: the brave new world of contemporary classical music for all in a repurposed Peckham car park followed by the consolidation of the old order in all-Czech programming of remarkable originality and...

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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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'You are my hero, dear Jiří': Karita Mattila and others remember Jiří Bělohlávek

The first of Jiří Bělohlávek’s final three appearances in London, conducting his Czech Philharmonic in a concert performance of Janáček’s Jenůfa, came as a shock. The trademark grey curly hair had vanished. Clearly he had undergone chemotherapy, but...

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Dvořák Requiem, BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, Bělohlávek, Barbican

Not your usual blockbuster for Holy Week, this. In other words, neither of the Bach Passions but a Requiem, and not – these days, at any rate – one of the more often-performed ones (it's not among the 79 works listed in The BBC Proms Guide...

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Prom 45: The Makropulos Affair, BBCSO, Bělohlávek

Karel Čapek, the great Czech writer who pioneered some of the most prophetic dramatic fantasies of the early 20th century, thought Janáček was nuts to want to set his wordy play about a 337-year-old woman to music. He could not have anticipated what...

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Jenůfa, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek, RFH

Janáček's lacerating music-drama of love-led sin and redemption in a 19th century Moravian village is the opera I'd recommend as the first port of call for theatregoers wary of the genre. Its emotional truths are unflinching, its lyricism as...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Dvořák, Toivo Kuula, Mozart

Dvořák, Suk, Janáček: Violin Concertos Josef Špaček (violin), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Jiří Bělohlávek (Supraphon)Josef Suk's expansive single movement Fantasy in G minor is a big-boned, lovable work; it's a surprise to learn that Suk complained...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Dubois, Grieg, Martinů

 Théodore Dubois: Musique Sacrée et Symphonique, Musique de chambre (Ediciones Singulare)Théodore Dubois is the sort of figure whose grave you'd expect to stumble upon in Père Lachaise Cemetery. For decades he was a senior figure in French...

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Špaček, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek, Leeds Town Hall

You’ve booked the iconic Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and their charismatic chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek to do a whistle-stop UK tour. Hoorah. But what do you get them to play? The mind boggles with programming possibilities. A symphony by...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bruckner, Unsuk Chin, Dvořák

 Bruckner: Symphony no 2 Wiener Symphoniker/Carlo Maria Giulini (Wiener Symphoniker)No apologies for reviewing a reissue, as this disc is fabulous. Originally a 1974 EMI recording, it's now released on the Wiener Symphoniker's own label. Carlo...

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Prom 50: Weilerstein, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek

Even as orchestras began to sound more and more alike, there was the Czech Philharmonic. And many of its notable characteristics remain to this day: a modest, homespun quality, warm and engaging and full of bright-eyed distinction in the woodwinds....

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Piemontesi, Karnéus, Reiss, Guildhall Symphony Chorus, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican Hall

Now the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s second Conductor Laureate, Jiří Bělohlávek was always going to deserve a hero’s welcome for taking his players to the finishing line of their six-year cycle through Mahler’s symphonies. As more superficially...

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