tue 13/11/2018

Classical Music reviews, news & interviews

Thibaudet/Batiashvili/Capuçon Trio, Barbican review – a supergroup to savour

Boyd Tonkin

Even in a large hall, very good things can come in small packages. In advance, partisans of the Wigmore Hall or some other dedicated chamber space might have feared that the Barbican’s main auditorium would turn out to be too chilly a barn for the intimate music-making promised by this supergroup. All-star trios or quartets, made up of soloists more accustomed to the undivided limelight, can frequently add up to less than the sum of their parts.

LSO, Roth, Barbican - not enough pathos, but a remarkable step-in

Sebastian Scotney

Missa in Angustiis. Mass in troubled times. There was a logic in programming Haydn’s D minor Mass on the Armistice Centenary day. The final words of the mass, dona nobis pacem, would be the right ones to end this day of reflection.

Classical CDs Weekly: A Walk with Ivor Gurney,...

Graham Rickson

 A Walk with Ivor Gurney Tenebrae, Aurora Orchestra, Sarah Connolly, Simon Callow, Nigel Short (conductor) (Signum Classics)Ivor Gurney was a...

Borodin Quartet, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review -...

David Nice

How many times have you heard live in concert a concerto for string quartet and instrumental ensemble? In my case, three, all of the occasions...

Fialkowska, BBCSO, Nesterowicz, Barbican review...

Boyd Tonkin

National feeling – in music, as anywhere else – depends on choice, not blood. This BBC Symphony Orchestra concert at the Barbican to mark the...

First Person Plural: the Calidore String Quartet on music for their torn nation

Calidore String Quartet

How Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Janáček and Golijov speak for our troubled times

Classical CDs Weekly: Josquin, Calidore String Quartet, Ronn McFarlane

Graham Rickson

Renaissance choral music and dramatic string quartets, plus a solo disc from a master lutenist

Federico Colli, Wigmore Hall review – poised on the edge of the possible

Jessica Duchen

The young Italian pianist brings a fantastical, probing imagination to a chewy programme

Refreshing the sonic spectrum: disability and excellence in British orchestras

Joe Turnbull

A musical evolution for the 21st Century

Dmitri Ensemble, Ross, St John's Smith Square review - impressive minimalism for strings

Bernard Hughes

Young ensemble bring a vitality and nuance to American classics

Classical CDs Weekly: Handel, Schmelzer, Tesla Quartet

Graham Rickson

Dramatic cantatas and baroque violin music, plus a sparky young quartet's debut disc

Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – pictorial, dramatic power

Robert Beale

Mancunian players excel on home ground in Elgar and Strauss

Car, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Milton Court review - a rattlebag of happy collaborations

David Nice

The ACO welcomes compatriot soprano and joins with young Guildhall players

Verdi's Requiem, Royal Opera, Pappano review - all that heaven allows

David Nice

Incandescence from soloists, chorus, orchestra and conductor in a near-perfect ritual

Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Milton Court review - brilliantly hyper-active Mozart

Boyd Tonkin

The dynamic Aussies thrill with precision as well as power

Lawson, London Sinfonietta, Kings Place Review – diverse explorations of time

Gavin Dixon

A surprise late addition from Birtwistle is the highlight of wide-ranging programme

The Triumph of Time and Truth, Higginbottom, Kings Place review – time well spent, despite the words

Boyd Tonkin

Handel's music defeats plodding lyrics in a gem-studded rarity

Classical CDs Weekly: Bernstein, English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, Kubrick's Music

Graham Rickson

A 100th birthday box set, 17th century winds, plus music favoured by a famous film director

Fröst, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - blood, sweat and sweetness

David Nice

Sheer heart attack in Prokofiev's Sixth Symphony crowns a rich and varied programme

CBSO, Leleux, Birmingham Town Hall review - oboe extraordinaire

Richard Bratby

Who needs a baton when you've got an oboe? Charisma triumphs in Haydn and Bizet

Hallé, Gardner, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – drama and humanity

Robert Beale

Happy return and powerful results in Strauss and Janáček

The Music of Harry Potter, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - orchestral wizardry

Richard Bratby

Quidditch match of two halves has enough magic to charm the Muggles

Classical CDs Weekly: Handel, William Howard, Professor Chill

Graham Rickson

Baroque harpsichords and modern love songs, plus some prehistoric bagpipes

Opolais, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Nelsons, RFH review - splendid and awful stretches

David Nice

New work excepted, this second Southbank concert from Germans and Latvians shone

Hardenberger, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Nelsons, RFH review - new songs for an old glory

Boyd Tonkin

The Saxon legends shine as glorious trumpets sound

Two-Piano Marathon, Kings Place review - dazzling duos, deep waters

David Nice

Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy make a transcendental start to an epic evening

BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new conductor’s debut

Robert Beale

Harbinger of things to come – the spirit of the stage

Anderson & Roe, RLPO, Tali, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool review - measured fire

Glyn Môn Hughes

An Estonian arrives in the UK to make a strong impression

Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Ligeti, Lakshminarayana Subramaniam, Svend Erik Tarp

Graham Rickson

Horns, tubas and Indian violins, plus a ballet set in a Danish circus

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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