sun 19/11/2017

Lieder

Mattila, Hampson, LPO, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

This may have been the official, lavish fanfare for the Southbank’s The Rest is Noise Festival, which if the hard sell hasn’t hit you yet is a year-long celebration of 20th Century music in its cultural context and based around Alex Ross's...

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Coote, BBCSO, Saraste, Barbican Hall

Somehow the manic cry of “Scooby-Doo man!” from the back of the stalls didn’t seem too incongruous. We were in the thick of Shostakovich’s craziest symphony, the Fourth, composed in the mid 1930s when such maverick Russian talent was about to be...

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Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage in Song

Classical albums are seldom biographical, but Insomnia turned out to be a much more personal journey than I first realised. In the summer of 2010, I was a prize winner in the Ernst Haefliger Competition in Bern, Switzerland. Part of the award was a...

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Kaufmann, CBSO, Nelsons, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

There was a lovely narrative to last night's CBSO concert. The muggy oppressiveness of Britten's Four Sea Interludes (and Passacaglia) appeared somehow explained by Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, then dissolved by the love letters that were the Strauss...

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Anne Schwanewilms, Charles Spencer, Wigmore Hall

Now that Margaret Price is no more and Kiri's well past her heyday, whose is the most limpid soprano of them all? "The beautiful voice" was a label slapped by PR on Renée Fleming, but that fitfully engaging diva is all curdled artifice alongside...

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Christian Gerhaher, Gerold Huber, Wigmore Hall

The queues weren't quite Proms-sized but they were long enough for the little old Wigmore Hall to seem more than a little overwhelmed. Expectations were immense. The past year has seen baritone Christian Gerhaher cast a singular spell over London...

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My Summer Reading: Tenor Ian Bostridge

The career of acclaimed tenor Ian Bostridge (b 1964) has taken a somewhat unusual trajectory. He was reading for a PhD on witchcraft at Corpus Christi College, Oxford before he decided to turn his hobby of singing into his profession, despite not...

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Wolfgang Holzmair, Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall

Wolfgang Holzmair: Ageing into his musical prime

The last time I saw Wolfgang Holzmair in concert (at last year’s Oxford Lieder Festival, delivering one of the finest live performances of Winterreise I have heard) the silence that followed the cycle lasted almost 30 seconds – an absolute age where...

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Samling Showcase, Wigmore Hall

Sir Thomas Allen: Still master of a magical head-voice croon

In a world obsessed with the next big thing, I was surprised not to see a larger crowd at last night’s Samling Showcase. Since this masterclass programme for young professional singers started 14 years ago, alumni have included Jonathan Lemalu, Anna...

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100 Years of German Song, 1810-1910, Schade, Martineau, Wigmore Hall

As we take in news of the cuts that the arts will have to absorb, and wait for the Cassandras to start hollering, it's important to remind ourselves of one arts venue that won't be wiping one bead of sweat off its brow as a result of today's...

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Ian Bostridge, Antonio Pappano, Wigmore Hall

Ian Bostridge is one of those artists – Andreas Scholl is another – whose technique is so suited to the recording studio, his recordings so ubiquitously loved and lived-with, that the opportunity to see him perform live has become one of conflict....

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Lawrence Brownlee, Iain Burnside, St John's, Smith Square

Lawrence Brownlee: a winning and seductive combination of vocal agility and beauty

We might have expected that the rising young bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee would include “Ah! Mes amis… Pour mon âme” from Donizetti’s La fille du régiment (that’s the number with the nine top Cs) in his Rosenblatt recital at St John’s, Smith...

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