tue 21/11/2017

period instruments

Bach Brandenburg Concertos, OAE, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Enlightenment is a wonderful idea, and the members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment who played Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall last night brought the wisdom of today’s period instrument movement to bear...

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Two Quixotes, The English Concert, Bicket, Wigmore Hall

They dreamed the impossible dream in 1970, turning aspects of Cervantes' Don Quixote into the musical Man of La Mancha. But Purcell, Eccles and the lively dramatist Thomas D'Urfey - anyone know his hit song "The Fart"? - got there first nearly 300...

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Prohaska, Eberle and Friends, Wigmore Hall

A quick plot summary might be required here, because how this programme of Schubert, Pergolesi and Webern came into being was far from obvious. Two young soloists, one a violinist in her late twenties, one a singer in her early thirties, both born...

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Remembering Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)

2016 began with the passing of Pierre Boulez, arguably the doyen of modernism in the field of classical music. Now, only a couple of months later, it is the turn of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a musician occupying a similar level of singular elevation but...

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Prom 62: Barton, OAE, Alsop

A concert of Brahms chamber music I could understand, especially given a balance between early and late. An evening of orchestral Brahms, with or without voices, needs much more special pleading. It didn’t get nearly enough last night. An expanded...

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Daphnis et Églé/La Naissance d'Osiris, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican

Were it not for William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, the vocal and instrumental ensemble he started in Paris in the 1970s, the beauties of the musical French Baroque might have remained a dusty fact of pre-Revolutionary history. As it is,...

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Alright on the Night: at Glyndebourne with the OAE

If you only ever listened to opera from recordings, you might overlook the fact that it's as much theatre as it is music. In the opera house on the night, it's all well and good for the orchestra to play the score and the singers to sing their parts...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Cage, Madetoja, Mussorgsky, Ravel, Scarlatti

 Madetoja: Symphonies 1&3, Okon Fuoko Suite Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgårds (Ondine)The first movement of Leevi Madetoja's Symphony no 1 approaches perfection. The opening gesture is arresting, and the lilting second subject...

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Sonia Prina, Wigmore Hall

The great Marilyn Horne used to joke that she was going to release an album entitled “Chestnuts for Chest Nuts”. She never did, but that leaves the door wide open for Sonia Prina whose dark, thrillingly low sound marks her out as the real deal, a...

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Phaëton, Les Talens Lyriques, Rousset, Barbican Hall

Excess of light and heat sends sun-god Apollo’s son Phaeton tumbling from his father’s chariot. The light was iridescent and the temperature well conditioned as peerless Christophe Rousset led his period-instrument Les Talens Lyriques and a variable...

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Schiff, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Queen Elizabeth Hall

You’d not expect Einstein to have daubed Amadeus’s Ninth Piano Concerto with the label “Mozart’s Eroica”. The really famous one didn’t : that piece of punditry came not from Albert the Great but Alfred the (musicologist) Lesser. Embarrassingly, the...

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Joyce DiDonato, Il Complesso Barocco, Barbican Hall

It may look like a sure-fire hit to let Kansas mezzo Joyce DiDonato rip through the drama-queen repertoire of the Baroque. But last night’s exploration of the dustiest, most overgrown byways of 17th and 18th century Italian opera needed every drop...

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