sun 20/08/2017

Proms

Prom 16 review: Osborne, BBCSSO, Volkov - scintillating piano concerto premiere

Expectations ran high for this first performance of Julian Anderson’s piano concerto, and they weren’t disappointed. Taking its title from a book of the same name by Andre Malraux, The Imaginary Museum goes on a journey around the world over the...

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Prom 14 review: BBCSSO, Wilson - illusion after illusion from musical conjurer

A packed Royal Albert Hall on a Tuesday night for a programme of 20th-century English music. Have the nation’s concert-goers come over all prematurely patriotic? Is Holst’s The Planets really that much of a draw? Or could the crowds have more to do...

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Prom 13 review: Rana, BBCSO, Davis – Malcolm Sargent tribute lacks punch

Ten days ago I reviewed the First Night of the 2017 Proms. Last night I was back at the Royal Albert Hall to hear the First Night of the 1966 Proms. This time-capsule experience was courtesy of a re-enactment of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s 500th Prom, in...

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Prom 10 review: Aurora Orchestra, Collon – a revolution taken to heart

When a trail-blazing orchestra takes on a world-transforming work, it would be pointless to leave the staid old rules of concert etiquette intact. Not only did the Aurora Orchestra under Nicholas Collon stretch their repertoire of symphonies...

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Prom 9 review: Fidelio, BBCPO, Mena - classy prison drama rarely blazes

What a pity Beethoven never composed an appendage to Fidelio called The Sorrows of Young Marzelline. One crucial moment apart, the music he gives to his second soprano in his only opera isn't his best, but Louise Alder so lived the role of the...

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Prom 7 review: Weilerstein, BBCSO, Weilerstein - new cello concerto enthrals

It’s at times like this that I give thanks for the Proms. Who else would (or could) have put together a programme pairing Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with an 18th-century sonic fantasy, or topped it off with a substantial UK premiere? A bit...

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Prom 6: Benedetti, BBC NOW, Søndergård - dazzling violin magic

Nicola Benedetti was the star of this show, no doubt about that. She is a Proms regular and favourite, attracting a large and enthusiastic audience, the Royal Albert Hall filled almost to capacity. And she didn’t disappoint, giving a performance of...

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Prom 3: Faust, COE, Haitink - Europeans tread air under 88-year-old master

The message must be getting through. On the First Night of the Proms, Igor Levit played as encore Liszt's transcription of the great Beethoven melody appropriated as the European Anthem; in Prom 2, Daniel Barenboim unleashed his Staatskapelle Berlin...

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Prom 1 review: Levit, BBCSO, Gardner - fizzing Adams finally ignites mixed First Night

The ideal First Night of the Proms sets the tone for the season, perhaps flagging up some of the themes to be followed up later, offering a blend of novelty and familiarity, and preferably ending with a roof-raising choral blockbuster. This...

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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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Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall

Mitsuko Uchida specialises in elegant, if uncontroversial, interpretations of core Austro-German repertoire, yet she’s never predictable, and every performance is full of unexpected insights and welcome surprises. Mozart and Schumann stand at...

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