wed 19/02/2020

Classical Reviews

Prom 40: Hough, OAE, Fischer review - pretty royal things

David Nice

There it gleamed, the pearl in the massive oyster of Albert's colosseum: the gilded, decorated piano supplied to his Queen by Érard in 1856. Pearly in sound it was not, though often harp-like; the programme was of mostly silver works, with a gold scherzo and some wooden songs.

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Lawrence Brownlee, Iain Burnside - enthralling song duo

Miranda Heggie

Performing as part of Edinburgh International Festival’s Queen’s Hall series, American tenor Lawrence Brownlee, with Scottish pianist Iain Burnside, performed collections of songs by Schumann, Liszt, Poulenc and Ginastera.

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Prom 39: Morison, BBCNOW, Chan review - a night of inspiring firsts

Jessica Duchen

A clever programme, a vivid premiere, a Proms debut for an exciting young conductor and the first appearance there by Catriona Morison since she won the 2017 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World: all this provided grist to the mill for a sold-out Prom that was more than the sum of its impressive parts. 

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Prom 37: The Childhood of Christ, Hallé, Pascal/ Prom 38: Bach Cantatas, Solomon's Knot reviews - holy radiance great and small

David Nice

Berlioz's most intimate oratorio certainly isn't just for Christmas – but, given its scale, is it right for the Proms?

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Prom 34: Argerich, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Barenboim review - erratic star, sleek ensemble

David Nice

Perhaps those who came for the Argerich touch and left at the interval of this instant-sellout Prom were satisfied. After all, the legendary Argentinian pianist gave us some vintage minutes of her silk-spinning mercurialism.

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Colin Currie Group, BBCSSO, Dausgaard/DiDonato, NYO-USA, Pappano

Christopher Lambton

With Peter Gynt, the National Theatre’s “reboot” of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, topping the drama bill at the Edinburgh Festival hotfoot from London, it was almost obligatory to find a space somewhere in the music programme for Grieg’s famous incidental music from 1876. But what would you put in the rest of the programme?

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Prom 30: The Warner Brothers Story, John Wilson Orchestra review – orchestral riches

Sebastian Scotney

Wisecracks can be profound. The late André Previn – who spent most of the period from his late teens to his mid-thirties working in film studios – once responded to a critic’s snub that the music of Korngold all sounded like Hollywood with the line: “No, Hollywood music all sounds like Korngold.”

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theartsdesk at Incontri in Terra di Siena: galloping concertos and Stravinsky by starlight

Jessica Duchen

July in Tuscany and the heat is intense. Oak-forested hills offer tempting shade; pale dust flies from the roads; in the houses curtains are drawn against the ferocious sun and around irrigated gardens the mosquitos are growing plump.

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Prom 28: BBCNOW, Otaka review - fantastical choral expedition

Bernard Hughes

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ second consecutive night at the Proms, accompanied by their associated National Chorus, ventured further out of the classical mainstream than the first.

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Prom 26: BBCNOW, Stutzmann review – a banquet of fervent favourites

Boyd Tonkin

Not every Prom has to push musical boundaries or bust concert conventions. On the face of it, last night’s programme from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (and National Chorus of Wales) stuck to a thoroughly traditional recipe. Two familiar 19th-century orchestral warhorses cantered out for the first half, followed by a beloved choral blockbuster delivered by massive forces who engendered a big, hearty, hall-filling – dare I say Victorian? – sound.

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