sat 22/02/2020

Classical Reviews

Prom 68: Goerke, Gould, RPO, Albrecht review - the art of transition

Peter Quantrill

Known as "Heldenmommy" to her fans on Twitter, Christine Goerke is a Wagner soprano of and for our time. You won’t find her recordings on the major-label behemoths but her reputation is built on two decades of producing the goods night after night at opera houses across the US, notably the Metropolitan in New York.

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Prom 66: In the Name of the Earth review - John Luther Adams's ambitious choral spectacular

Bernard Hughes

This is the kind of thing that the Proms does well – indeed, where else would it get an outing?

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Prom 63: Wang, Staatskapelle Dresden, Chung review – private passions

Boyd Tonkin

Weirdly enough, it was “Tea for Two” that definitively proved her class for me.

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Prom 60: Ax, Vienna Philharmonic, Haitink review - moving mountains at 90

David Nice

His movements are minimal (perhaps they always were). A more intense flick of the baton, a sudden wider sweep of the expressive left hand, can help quicken a tempo, draw extra firepower from the players, but Bernard Haitink's conducting is still the most unforced and, well, musicianly, in the world.

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Prom 55: Jephtha, SCO & Chorus, Egarr review - shock of the new in sacrificial oratorio

David Nice

Human sacrifice has a disconcerting and wonderful effect upon great composers, above all when it involves the supremely queasy issue of a father vowing to offer up his child: think of Britten with Abraham and Isaac, Mozart with Idomeneo and Idamante, Gluck with Agamemnon and Iphigenia, and here Handel with Jephtha and Iphis in his last oratorio.

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Prom 53: Connolly, Gregory, Tappan, BBCSO & Chorus, Davis review - citizens of the world unite

David Nice

Let's be clear: this was a Prom of world-class works by English composers, not a conservative concert of English music.

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Manchester International Piano Competition, Chetham’s review - stars in the making

Robert Beale

The Manchester International Piano Competition produced three outstanding performances over the two evenings of its finals: the winner of the first prize was Ilia Lomtatidze, from Georgia, with second prize awarded jointly to the Italian and French pianists Luca Grianti and Oscar Colliar....

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Prom 47: Schönheit, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Nelsons review - Bruckner doesn’t quite take flight

Bernard Hughes

After Thursday night’s concert I celebrated the Proms’ exploration of unfamiliar repertoire via the CBSO. The following evening saw the festival diving back into mainstream repertoire – as it must also do – conducted by the CBSO’s previous music director.

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Bach's Multiple Concertos/ Manon Lescaut reviews - dancing harpsichords, perfect Puccini

David Nice

Puccini's and Abbé Prévost's glitter-seduced Manon Lescaut might have been inclined to linger longer in the salon of dirty old man Geronte if he'd served her up not his own madrigals but Bach's music for various harpsichords and ensemble.

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Prom 46: Kanneh-Mason, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla review - brilliant programme, brilliant playing

Bernard Hughes

Let us never tire of singing the praises of the Proms, nor ever take them for granted. For two months concerts, many of which would be the highlight of any ‘normal’ week, keep coming night after night. And for all that it is a critic’s job to comment in detail and find fault where necessary, it is also helpful sometimes to step back and say: the Proms is an astonishing festival which we should be grateful to have.

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