sat 18/11/2017

Royal Albert Hall

Proms 47, 48 & 49 review: Reformation Day - superlative Bach as the bedrock

Reformation Day, Luther 500 - in Proms terms it can only mean Bach, the alpha and omega of music, flourishing roughly two centuries after the Wittenberg Nightingale nailed his 95 theses to the church door. Those of us who headed home on Saturday...

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Prom 46 review: Gurrelieder, LSO, Rattle - gorgeous colours, halting movement in Schoenberg's monsterpiece

From sunset to sunrise, across aeons of time, usually flashes by in Schoenberg's polystylistic epic. Not last night at the Proms: Simon Rattle is too much in love with the sounds he can get from the London Symphony Orchestra - here verging on a...

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Proms 37 / 38 review: Latvian Radio Choir, Gavrylyuk, BBCSSO, Dausgaard - numinous Rachmaninov triptych

So it was Rachmaninov night at the Proms, but with a difference: a trinity of works sacred and profane, the first two introduced by the Latvian choir due to perform the third singing harmonised Russian Orthodox chants of the kind on which the...

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Proms 34 & 35 review: Oklahoma!, John Wilson Orchestra - music triumphs, words and drama suffer

Only one thing could equal the "wow!" factor of seeing and hearing a youngish Hugh Jackman launch into “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’“ at the start of the National Theatre’s 1998 staging of Oklahoma!: John Wilson and his orchestra trilling and...

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Prom 33 review: Davidsen, Gerhardt, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds - Nordic music glowing with colour

Goodness the BBC Philharmonic plays well for John Storgårds. The orchestra’s chief guest conductor has a lovely easy manner on the podium – all curved gestures and loose arms, and the result is a partnership that brings the absolute best out of the...

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Prom 31 review: La Damnation de Faust, Gardiner - Berlioz tumbles out in rainbow colours

The road to hell is paved with brilliant ideas in Berlioz's idiosyncratic take on the Faust legend. John Eliot Gardiner proved better than anyone in last night's Prom that this splendidly lopsided "dramatic legend" can only be weakened by its many...

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Prom 30 review: Bournemouth SO, Karabits - pagan fire and thunder

A Prom of unrelenting momentum began promisingly with Beethoven, and the false start that opens his First Symphony. On this showing, Kirill Karabits has coached his Bournemouth musicians in the classical repertoire with a dash and flair that brings...

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Prom 29 review: BBCSO, Bychkov - Musorgsky's Khovanshchina sears in concert

"Ura!" as soldiers cry in Russian epic opera's last fling, Prokofiev's War and Peace: supertitles have arrived at the Proms, after much special pleading here and elsewhere. They're needed more than ever in Musorgsky's typically quirky survey of...

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Prom 24 review: Crebassa, Philharmonia, Salonen – thrilling performance of Adams masterpiece

The title of John Adams’s Naive and Sentimental Music is a bit of a tease. Read literally it promises – or threatens – unsophisticated mawkishness, though that is the last thing it delivers. But maybe it was this title, alongside relatively...

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Prom 23 review: OAE, Christie - scintillating drama in Handel's Israel in Egypt

How do you make a venerable warhorse frisk like a coltish show-pony? Hire William Christie as the trainer. In a performance of scintillating drama and crystal-clear definition, the past master of Baroque revival and re-invention coaxed the Orchestra...

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Prom 22 review: Pygmalion, Pichon – theatrical take on Monteverdi's Vespers

As the lights dim the choir turn their backs on the audience. A spotlight picks out a single singer. With one hand aloft he leads the male voices through the “Pater Noster” and “Ave Maria” in a stern and stately plainchant. Then suddenly the full...

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Prom 20 review: Hough, BBCPO, Wigglesworth - towards the light fantastic

Romantic concerto, contemporary work, classical symphony: it's a common format at the Proms, but not usually in that order. Both David Sawer's 1997 firework The Greatest Happiness Principle and Haydn's ever-radical Symphony No. 99, sharing a light-...

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