wed 27/05/2015

piano

Ehnes, Armstrong, Wigmore Hall

Violinists either fathom the elusive heart and soul of Elgar’s music or miss the mark completely. Canadian James Ehnes, one of the most cultured soloists on the scene today, is the only one I’ve heard since Nigel Kennedy to make the Violin Concerto...

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Kozhukhin, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

No two symphonic swansongs could be more different than Sibelius’s heart-of-darkness Tapiola and Nielsen’s enigmatically joky Sixth Symphony. In its evasive yet organic jumpiness, the Danish composer’s anything but “Simple Symphony” – the Sixth’s...

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Yevgeny Sudbin, QEH

Mahler once wrote that his symphonies were edifices built from the same stones, gathered in childhood. In each of the four recitals I’ve heard from Yevgeny Sudbin, he’s moved several of his repertoire cornerstones around to different effect in the...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Pianist Yevgeny Sudbin

Whatever the recording industry may try to tell you, there is rarely any such thing as a single “best” among today’s pianists. We’ve had Benjamin Grosvenor and Leif Ove Andsnes, excellent artists both, touted as a cut above the rest. But hearing...

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Stephen Hough, RFH

It took just two bars of Debussy's La plus que lente for Stephen Hough to transport the entire Royal Festival Hall to Paris. The nearest thing the French composer ever wrote to a café waltz – inspired by a gypsy band in a local hotel – this...

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Argerich, Staatskapelle Berlin, Barenboim, RFH

It looked like a potential misalliance between performers used to looking at the stars and a programme of earthly, ideally rather broadly humorous delights. In the event, Martha Argerich, who can turn her high, lucid playing to most ends, sought out...

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Perianes, LPO, Ticciati, RFH

Conductor Robin Ticciati and pianist Javier Perianes are an odd couple. Ticciati is forthright and disciplined, while Perianes is reticent but erratic. But they demonstrated last night that Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto can accommodate those...

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Toradze, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

It was melody versus the machine last night as Sakari Oramo’s six voyages around the Nielsen symphonies with the BBC Symphony Orchestra hit the high noon of the 1920s. The fallout from the First World War found three composers scarred but fighting...

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Ronald Stevenson (1928-2015): A virtuoso remembered

Ronald Stevenson, who died on Saturday at the age of 87, was a composer and pianist who will be much missed both in the small Borders village where he lived and by the much larger musical community in Scotland and beyond. As a composer he was...

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Bronfman, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

Over the past two Saturdays, Vladimir Jurowski and a London Philharmonic on top form have given us a mini-festival of great scores for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The hallucinogenic vision of ancient Greece in Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé last week was...

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Wang, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican

Michael Tilson Thomas is in town to celebrate his 70th birthday. And he's with old friends – he’s been working with the London Symphony since 1970, including six years as principal conductor. There is still plenty of chemistry here, and the...

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Lane, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Manze, RFH

Andrew Manze chose an all-English programme for his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Clarity of texture and disciplined, propulsive tempos are the hallmarks of his conducting, the results of many years as a violinist and ensemble leader...

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