mon 17/06/2019

Classical Reviews

Goodyear, Chineke! Orchestra, Marshall, Symphony Hall, Birmingham Review - engaging and uplifting

Miranda Heggie

Having played their first concert just four years ago, the Chineke! Orchestra gave a rousing, exuberant performance for an ensemble still in its infancy. It’s a young orchestra, not just in the sense of only being founded a few years ago, but one that comprises many young players too. Though its youthful passion and energy was very much to the fore, there were some points in Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No 1 when a lack of experience let them down.

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Kozhukhin, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - more cultured than electrifying

David Nice

With two German giants roaring - Brahms in leonine mode, Richard Strauss more with tongue in armour-plated cheek - it could have all been too much.

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Morison, Williams, RLPO, Davis, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool review – a vision of near perfection

Glyn Môn Hughes

It wasn’t really the orchestra’s night.  Nor the soloists'. Nor, even, the conductor's. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir totally stole the show, well surpassing the incredibly high standards which they already regularly attain and performing not as a large symphonic chorus but as a something akin to one of the highly specialist choirs with which this country is blessed.

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Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – bittersweet Berlin

Boyd Tonkin

Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia kicked off their series of concerts devoted to the edgy culture of the Weimar Republic with a programme that featured three works (out of four) derived in some way from the musical stage. That included, as a rip-roaring finale, the conclusion to Shostakovich’s football-themed ballet from 1930, The Golden Age.

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Kuusisto, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Birmingham Town Hall review - aural voyage through space

Miranda Heggie

It’s quite a weighty concept, and one which could easily have buckled had both the music and its execution not been of the highest quality. Aurora Orchestra’s "Music of the Spheres" was a concert inspired by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras’s theory that each of the planets in our solar system must emit a particular sound through its orbit.

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Williams, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall Manchester review - vision before gloom

Robert Beale

The BBC Philharmonic have given memorable accounts of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4 in Manchester before – notably conducted by Günther Herbig in 2010 and by John Storgårds in 2014 – but surely none as harrowingly grim as under Mark Wigglesworth this time.

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Kuusisto, Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review - new principal conductor steps up

Bernard Hughes

Last night saw the official unveiling of 33-year-old Finn Santtu-Matias Rouvali as Principal Conductor Designate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, an appointment that has been widely welcomed, not least on theartsdesk. And while I enjoyed Rouvali’s work I had some reservations, and I would like to see him again before coming to a firm judgment.

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CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - joy unbounded

Richard Bratby

You can tell a lot from the opening of Brahms’s Second Symphony.

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Benedetti, SCO, Birmingham Town Hall review - a powerful musical alliance

Miranda Heggie

Playing with such energy, such synergy and such general camaraderie at the start of a tour must surely pave the way for even greater things to come. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Nicola Benedetti kicked off their European tour at Birmingham Town Hall, ahead of performances in Denmark, Switzerland and Germany.

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Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Pappano, Barbican review – joy in despair

Boyd Tonkin

As one half of British politics convulsed into a deeper spasm of suicidal fury, it came almost as a relief to hear a great Anglo-Italian conductor lead an impassioned Roman orchestra in a massive, terrifying symphony once described by a (German) maestro as the first example of musical nihilism. Ah, but that’s the paradox of Mahler’s Sixth.

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