tue 22/10/2019

Classical Music reviews, news & interviews

London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Ono, Barbican review - feet on the ground, eyes to the skies

David Nice

We have John Eliot Gardiner to thank for an unconventional diptych of Czech masterpieces in the London Symphony Orchestra's current season. He had to withdraw from last night's concert - he conducts Dvořák's Cello Concerto and Suk's "Asrael" Symphony on Thursday - but his replacement, Kazushi Ono, was no second-best.

Miklós Perényi, Dénes Várjon, Wigmore Hall review – Beethoven in wonderfully safe hands

Sebastian Scotney

"Revelatory":  it’s one of those words which is now completely devalued through having been carelessly dropped into a thousand press releases.

‘We must not allow boorish, opportunistic...

Gabriela Montero

For as long as I can remember, there has been a continuous loop of original music playing in my mind. My father used to joke about my “tuyuyo” – a...

Glennie, Lubbe, Ticciati, O/Modernt, Kings Place...

Bernard Hughes

Some of the greatest pieces of the string orchestra repertoire are based on pre-existing pieces: the fantasias by Tippett and Vaughan Williams, on...

Classical CDs Weekly: Gabriela Montero, Ravel,...

Graham Rickson

 Gabriela Montero: Piano Concerto No 1, ‘Latin Concerto’, Ravel: Concerto in G Gabriela Montero (piano), The Orchestra of the Americas/Carlos...

Ehnes, Hallé, Gabel, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - happy unexpected discoveries

Robert Beale

Two young conductors and a master of the violin

Dariescu, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Simonov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Soviet fear and loathing

Miranda Heggie

Brutal yet beautiful performance of Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony

theartsdesk Q&A: Gianandrea Noseda on conducting Mahler and the Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra

David Nice

The Italian conductor reflects after a blazing 'Resurrection' at the Tsinandali Festival

Zauberland, Linbury Theatre review - an adaptation that adds much and gains nothing

Alexandra Coghlan

This topical updating of a classic song-cycle feels laboured

Bevan, The Sixteen, Genesis Sixteen, Christophers, Barbican review - MacMillan transcends again

David Nice

Thoughtful showcasing of UK and London premieres for the Scotish composer's latest

theartsdesk at the Tsinandali Festival: young Caucasians join hands and instruments

David Nice

World-class chamber players and young orchestras on a Georgian country estate

Verdi Requiem, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – beyond the big noise

Boyd Tonkin

The LPO's incoming chief delivers a well-defined, strong-minded interpretation

Classical CDs Weekly: Ed Lyon, Jason Vieaux, Irina Borissova

Graham Rickson

Baroque songs, guitar quintets and a recital from a young Bulgarian violinist

Brockes-Passion, Arcangelo, Cohen, Wigmore Hall review – hybrid Handel

Gavin Dixon

An original alternative to Bach loses impact in small-scale performance

Cargill, RSNO, Søndergård, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - luscious opening to a rich season

Christopher Lambton

Youthful inspirations by Strauss, Berg and Mahler mark a significant birthday

Leonskaja, Ferchtman, Várdai, Wigmore Hall review - direct line to Schubert's genius

David Nice

Three peerless players clarify the wonders of the composer's two late piano trios

'A laboratory for everything': Jasper Parrott on the future of his classical music agency

Jasper Parrott

As Harrison Parrott celebrates 50 years with concerts on Sunday, its main mover reflects

Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Bright, Dvořák, Gipps, Rota

Graham Rickson

Romantic symphonies, iconic film music and neglected British piano concertos

Fry, AAM, Egarr, Barbican review – revival and revolution

Peter Quantrill

The will of the people writ large in Beethoven’s music for the barricades

Balsom, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - made in Brum

Richard Bratby

Home grown rarities plus William Walton in glorious excess

Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva on the London Piano Festival: 'It's not just playing one concert and going home'

Charles Owen And Katya Apekisheva

On a meeting of musical friends with a Two-Piano Marathon at its heart

Tetzlaff, Nelsen, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - spider's webs and silk sheets

David Nice

The Weimar Berlin series concludes with a quartet of well-contrasted stunners

Dickson, Brautigam, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Kings Place review - disappointing Mozart concerto

Bernard Hughes

Chamber forces give lithe Mendelssohn symphony a lift

Fischer, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - total focus in shattering threnodies

David Nice

Superb concerto partnership in Britten, and a Tchaikovsky interpretation perfected

Classical CDs Weekly: Axel Borup-Jørgensen, Purcell, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra

Graham Rickson

Danish modernism, countertenor duets and Russian string music

Tetzlaff, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - glories of the Weimar era

Bernard Hughes

Bach-themed programme eloquently embraces both tragedy and triumph

Simon Halsey on Tippett’s ‘A Child of Our Time’: ‘the biggest lesson was how to feel what he had written’

Simon Halsey

The CBSO Chorus's director on preparing a masterpiece, and working with the composer

Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Takács-Nagy, Stoller Hall, Manchester, review - concertos as opera

Robert Beale

Drama takes the stage in characterful views of Mozart

Classical CDs Weekly: Eleanor Alberga, Parry, Blondel

Graham Rickson

Contemporary string quartets, English motets and medieval wind music

Footnote: a brief history of classical music in Britain

London has more world-famous symphony orchestras than any other city in the world, the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra vying with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Opera House Orchestra, crack "period", chamber and contemporary orchestras. The bursting schedules of concerts at the Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Centre and South Bank Centre, and the strength of music in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff, among other cities, show a depth and internationalism reflecting the development of the British classical tradition as European, but with specific slants of its own.

brittenWhile Renaissance monarchs Henry VIII and Elizabeth I took a lively interest in musical entertainment, this did not prevent outstanding English composers such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd developing the use of massed choral voices to stirring effect. Arguably the vocal tradition became British music's glory, boosted by the arrival of Handel as a London resident in 1710. For the next 35 years he generated booms in opera, choral and instrumental playing, and London attracted a wealth of major European composers, Mozart, Chopin and Mahler among them.

The Victorian era saw a proliferation of classical music organisations, beginning with the Philharmonic Society, 1813, and the Royal Academy of Music, 1822, both keenly promoting Beethoven's music. The Royal Albert Hall and the Queen's Hall were key new concert halls, and Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh established major orchestras. Edward Elgar was chief of a raft of English late-Victorian composers; a boom-time which saw the Proms launched in 1895 by Sir Henry Wood, and a rapid increase in conservatoires and orchestras. The "pastoral" English classical style arose, typified by Vaughan Williams, and the new BBC took over the Proms in 1931, founding its own broadcasting orchestra and classical radio station (now Radio 3).

England at last produced a world giant in Benjamin Britten (pictured above), whose protean range spearheaded the postwar establishment of national arts institutions, resulting notably in English National Opera, the Royal Opera and the Aldeburgh Festival. The Arts Desk writers provide a uniquely rich coverage of classical concerts, with overnight reviews and indepth interviews with major performers and composers, from Britain and abroad. Writers include Igor Toronyi-Lalic, David Nice, Edward Seckerson, Alexandra Coghlan, Graham Rickson, Stephen Walsh and Ismene Brown

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