tue 12/12/2017

Messiaen

Messiaen & Shostakovich, St John's Smith Square review - Osborne and Gerhardt anchor 1940s masterpieces

Only connect. As the Southbank Centre's International Chamber Music Series at St John's showcased supreme eloquence in two searing but perfectly-proportioned meditations from the Second World War, over the road at Smith Square Europe House was...

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Ensemble InterContemporain, Wigmore Hall

The Paris-based Ensemble InterContemporain brought a wide-ranging programme to the Wigmore Hall. They are known as new music specialists – the group was founded by Pierre Boulez as the house band for the IRCAM electronic music studio – so Ravel and...

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Sughayer, Manchester Camerata Soloists, Manchester Cathedral

Two works whose whole significance depends on (unspoken) sacred texts made a stimulating combination for a concert in Manchester Cathedral’s sacred space. Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross – usually heard in its string...

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Aimard, Stefanovich, St John's Smith Square

Visions de l’Amen was a shoo-in for Belief and Beyond Belief, the year-long festival of art inspired by religious faith. The festival’s goals seem dangerously nebulous – almost anything could fit its remit – but it is hard to imagine a...

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Catalogue d'Oiseaux, Aimard, Aldeburgh Festival

"He is one of the few pianists who will not make them sound like angry birds," said young pianist-animateur Víkingur Ólafsson in Reykjavík when I told him that in little over 24 hours' time I'd be hearing Pierre-Laurent Aimard work his way through...

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Uchida, Musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic, Wigmore Hall

Exactly what constitutes “the End of Time” in Olivier Messiaen’s extraordinary Quartet for piano, violin, cello and clarinet? Not surely “the end of days” but rather the end of measured time; music unfettered, music of the spheres, music without...

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BBC Proms: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chailly

If you’re going to bash a tam-tam for six, the Albert Hall is the perfect place to do it. The reverberation lasts for ages; and everyone in the audience can see you bashing. That must explain in part why Messiaen’s hieratic, gong-crazy Et expecto...

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BBC Proms: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chung

Sibling rivalry: The charismatic Capuçon brothers face off in two concertos in two nights

Never has a French invasion of these shores been quite so welcome. The two-day siege currently being staged in the Royal Albert Hall by Myung-Whun Chung and his Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France opened last night with patriotic fervour in an...

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London Symphony Orchestra, Rattle, Barbican Hall

Sir Simon Rattle's intriguing return to the London Symphony Orchestra podium after years away threw up a curious thought: what happens after Berlin? The fate of six of his eight predecessors at the Berlin Phil has been death on the job. Was...

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These Go To Eleven: The Problem of Noisy Orchestras

“Last summer we played a gala performance at the London Coliseum which included extracts from Spartacus, and most of the brass players wore earplugs because the music was relentlessly loud,” says Paul Murphy, Principal Conductor of the Royal Ballet...

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London Sinfonietta, George Benjamin, QEH

To find a single completely successful piece in a contemporary music programme is rare enough. The sieve of time has yet to separate the wheat from the chaff. But to find complete satisfaction in all five pieces programmed, and for all five pieces...

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Joanna MacGregor, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Joanna MacGregor walks on stage purposefully, clutching a manuscript of paving-slab dimensions, promptly sits down and starts to play, smiling. The opening measures of Messiaen’s Regard du Père steal in gently, and for the next 120 minutes we are...

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