wed 23/01/2019

Classical Reviews

Proms at...Cadogan Hall 1, Perianes, Calidore String Quartet review - mysteries and revelations

David Nice

Light-filled Cadogan Hall is hosting the most fascinatingly programmed concerts in a Proms season not otherwise conspicuous for its adventurousness. There's also an honourable pledge to premiere at least one new work by a female composer in each event, honouring the centenary of votes for women.

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Prom 3, BBC Young Musician at 40 review - multi-layered birthday cake

David Nice

How do you go about co-ordinating a spectacular like this, the first ever BBC Young Musicians' Prom? With 23 brilliant soloists from clarinettist Michael Collins, not even the winner of the first event 40 years ago, to 16-year-old Lauren Zhang, who stunned us all with her fleet interpretation of Prokofiev's monster Second Piano Concerto this year, commissions or reworkings dealing with batches were the best idea...

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Prom 1, BBCSO, Oramo review – spectacular First Night of the Proms

Gavin Dixon

The First Night of the Proms is always a tricky one to programme, bringing together themes of the season, perhaps a new work and, most importantly, a grand finale. This year’s Prom No. 1 ticked all the boxes, and without feeling like pick-n-mix.

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Tenebrae, Short, St John’s Smith Square review - choral majesty in New World marvels

David Benedict

They started as they meant to go on. Randall Thompson’s lush, consoling six-minute Alleluia, written in 1940, couldn’t be a better opener for Tenebrae, one of this country’s finest, most musically alert and expressive vocal ensembles. Technically, the piece is undemanding so a successful performance of it rests entirely upon expressive control.

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theartsdesk in Orkney: St Magnus Festival 2018 - choral music to the fore

David Kettle

With – unusually – no visiting orchestra at this year’s St Magnus International Festival in far-flung Orkney (the fall-out from delayed funding confirmations, we’re assured), there was a danger that the annual midsummer event might have felt a little – well, quiet.

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Manchester Collective, Chetham's, Manchester review - flair and variety

Robert Beale

Manchester Collective is a new and enterprising group of musicians determined not just to create performances of high quality but to offer a new way in which the performances themselves are done. They started from scratch at the end of 2016, and I saw one of the first of their efforts, given at Islington Mill – a laid-back space in the basement of an old industrial building in Salford – in March last year.

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Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall review – Viennese schools refreshed

Jessica Duchen

In the right hands, the music of the various Viennese Schools can still sound almost startlingly original. Imogen Cooper’s are very much the right hands, containing a rare, refined artistry that only continues to grow with the years.

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Anthony Marwood and Friends, Peasmarsh Festival - elegies in a country church

David Nice

A magnificent riven oak with gnarly branches stands in the secluded graveyard of SS Peter and Paul's Church Peasmarsh, near Rye. Transport it in your mind to Flexham Park in a very different part of Sussex, imagine it struck by lightning and it could be one of that twisted group which Elgar encountered on a short walk from his Bedham cottage in the summer of 1918, subsequently permeating his massive and masterly Piano Quintet with the ghost  story surrounding them.

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Benedetti, LSO, Noseda, Barbican review – power and focus

Gavin Dixon

Shostakovich is ideal for Nicola Benedetti. His music requires effortless and understated virtuosity, as well as a confident and commanding maturity of interpretation. Benedetti has been demonstrating these qualities since her late teens, and all were evident in this reading of the First Violin Concerto, which proved an intense and compelling listening experience.

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The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Grange Festival review - enjoyable if conventional production

Bernard Hughes

Just as the Last Night of the Proms is an end-of-term party with a concert tacked on, The Grange Festival (like other similar venues) offers a massive picnic interspersed with some opera.

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