mon 20/11/2017

Schumann

Florian Boesch, Justus Zeyen, Wigmore Hall review - power, intimacy and atmosphere

Florian Boesch is a big man. He’s tall, stocky, and with his bald head and stubble could seem more like a gangster than a Lieder singer. His voice is beautiful, but it matches his appearance – big, weighty and imposing. He has subtlety too, though...

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Dmitri Alexeev, St John's Smith Square review - a Titan at 70

You won't have seen much of magisterial Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev recently, unless you happen to be a student at the Royal College of Music, where he is Professor of Advanced Piano Studies (they were out in force last night, cheering enough to...

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London Piano Festival, Kings Place review - feasts of fearless fingerwork

What has 12 hands, 18 legs, 176 keys and two page-turners? Party night at the London Piano Festival, of course. The six-pianist, two-piano marathon on Saturday evening was a high point of this delectable four-day event – though far from the only one...

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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 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 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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theartsdesk Q&A: Horn-player Alec Frank-Gemmill

Traditional musical formats rarely suit the individual talent, but the highly-motivated player always finds a way. I first got to talk to Alec Frank-Gemmill in the very sociable surroundings of the Pärnu Festival in Estonia, a gathering most...

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Jonathan Biss, Milton Court

"Late Style", the theme and title of pianist Jonathan Biss's three-concert miniseries, need not be synonymous with terminal thoughts of death. This recital ranged from introspection (Brahms), radiant simplicity (Schumann) and aphoristic minimalism (...

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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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The Schumann Project, Oxford Lieder Festival

It felt oddly disrespectful showing up in time for Schumann's wake on the fifteenth and final day of this year's Oxford Lieder Festival. Having started with the early piano music and many of the chamber works before moving on to Schumann's annus...

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Isserlis, Mustonen, Wigmore Hall

For a BBC Radio 3 lunchtime's hour of music, cellist Steven Isserlis's latest collaboration with that most individual of pianists Olli Mustonen went astonishingly deep. The surprises were equal in its two halves - the first a through-conceived...

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First Person: Steven Isserlis on Schumann's advice to the young

All musicians have particular musical passions, composers, styles or genres to which they are irresistibly drawn. I have many – almost too many at times; but among the most enduring is my love for the music, writing and personality of Robert...

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