thu 21/09/2017

Russia

Proms 67 & 68 review: Freiburg Baroque, Heras-Casado / Mariinsky, Gergiev - reformation and revolution

Even tuning up, the multinational musicians of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra make a lovely sound, well-anchored by the tug of four period-instrument cellos and three basses, yet buoyant and stippled with upper-wind colours, flutes circling and...

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Prom 63 review: Gerstein, BBCSO, Bychkov - total mastery of orchestral sound

No-one, least of all the players, will forget Semyon Bychkov’s 2009 Proms appearance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a poleaxing interpretation of Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony. They had already made the history books this Proms season with a...

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall review: Pavel Kolesnikov - Chopin takes flight

If individual greatness is to be found in the way an artist begins and ends a phrase, or finds magical transitions both within and between pieces, then Pavel Kolesnikov is already up there with the top pianists. Listeners tuning in midway through...

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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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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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10 Questions for actress Tracy-Ann Oberman: 'it's made me pretty fearless'

What do you call a woman who murdered Dirty Den, is the darling of TV comedy producers, writes radio plays about the golden age of Hollywood, hosted and judged Channel 4’s Jewish Mum of the Year, was until just a few weeks ago tap dancing through...

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Jonathan Miles: St Petersburg review - culture and calamity

Talk about survival: St Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, now again St Petersburg, all the same city, has it nailed down. It was founded through the mad enthusiasm, intelligence, determination and just off-the-scale energy of Peter the Great in 1703...

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Elif Batuman: The Idiot review - memories of student life and travels meander

University, anyone? Student days? If you were ever an undergraduate, who does not remember the simultaneous sense of dislocation and excitement, the feeling of the familiar combined with a heady awareness that we might fall off a cliff,...

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Evgeny Kissin: Memoirs and Reflections review - Russian education, European conviction, Jewish heritage

"Generally speaking," writes Evgeny Kissin in one of the many generous tributes to those whose artistry he most admires, "the mastery of [Carlo Maria] Giulini is exactly what is dearest of all to me in art: simplicity, depth and spirituality". The...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Aida Garifullina

There are certain roles where you’re lucky to catch one perfect incarnation in a lifetime. I thought I'd never see a soprano as Natasha in Prokofiev's War and Peace equal to Yelena Prokina, Valery Gergiev’s choice for Graham Vick’s 1991 production....

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Kempf, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Simonov, Cadogan Hall

It could have been your standard Russian touring programme: Tchaikovsky ballet music as hors d'oeuvre, Rachmaninov piano concerto, Shostakovich symphony. But the symphony was hardly the usual (Sixth rather than Fifth or Tenth). And any chance should...

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Britain's Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story review - 'power, politics and national identity'

In the midst of a general election campaign and with Euro-shrapnel flying around our ears, it’s an intriguing moment at which to revisit Britain’s history as a nuclear power. Although this film from BBC Science concentrated on the factual and...

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