mon 22/04/2024

Classical Reviews

Bevan, Williams, BBCSO, MacMillan, Barbican review - inspirational journey from darkness to light

Rachel Halliburton

It began with the tolling of a lone bell and ended in a transcendent blaze of golden light.

Read more...

Hughes, SCO, Kuusisto, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh review - Clyne shines, Grime fragments

Simon Thompson

Most concert promoters will tell you that contemporary music tends to be, to put it politely, a tricky sell, which is one of the reasons why it’s most often programmed alongside Beethoven or Tchaikovsky. A whole programme of the stuff tends to be box office suicide, so it’s almost never done.

Read more...

Winterreise, Clayton, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, QEH review - new maps for the great journey

Boyd Tonkin

Like Hamlet or Fidelio, Schubert’s Winterreise can withstand and overcome (almost) any kind of re-imagining. In the case of Hans Zender’s 1993 “composed interpretation” of the work for chamber orchestra – and sundry sound effects – the new model has itself become a near-canonical classic. 

Read more...

Esther, London Handel Festival, St George’s Hanover Square review - a lopsided celebratory oratorio

David Nice

“Spring Awakenings” promised as the theme of this year’s London Handel Festival began with a big if messy vernal bouquet of “Alleluia"s and “God Save the King”s. Esther, Handel's first London oratorio, seemed like an appropriately jubilant way to celebrate Laurence Cummings' 25th and final year as festival director.

Read more...

Theresienstadt-Terezin 1941-1945, Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall review - memorial music of stunning impact

Ed Vulliamy

Towards the end of his book Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann deploys a cogent expression: “chasing history, before it disappears”.

Read more...

Osborne, BBC Philharmonic, Bihlmaier, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an orchestra at the top of its game

Robert Beale

Just a few days after the Hallé’s Bruckner 8, the BBC Philharmonic weighed in with his Seventh Symphony for its Manchester audience. We’re all getting a lot of Bruckner in his 200th anniversary year, and this was a wise choice, being one of his shorter creations in the genre – only about an hour and 10 minutes in playing time – and containing some of his best melodic ideas and rhythmic inventions.

Read more...

Scottish Ensemble, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall New Auditorium review - making a move

Miranda Heggie

Continuing the relationship with choreographer Örjan Andersson – who choreographed their landmark project Goldberg Variations Scottish Ensemble gave the first of their latest movement-inspired performance, Impulse: Music in Motion in Glasgow on Friday evening.

Read more...

Morison, Big Noise Wester Hailes, RSNO, Søndergård, Usher Hall, Edinburgh - shimmering delicacy and surging swell

Simon Thompson

While it is an incontrovertibly good thing that the classical music world has set about rediscovering the work of neglected female composers, not all rediscoveries are equally worthy of being found. Particularly on a day like International Women’s Day (IWD), concert programmers run the risk of unearthing work that tends towards the mediocre, and which can end up being tokenistic.

Read more...

Murray, Vlaams Radiokor, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - visual ‘interpretation’ blunts sonic brilliance in Szymanowski rarity

David Nice

Chances are few enough to catch Polish composer Szymanowski’s densely brilliant 1920s score for a ballet about love in the Tatra mountains. Harnasie (Robbers) is so little known that we need a clear line through action and sung text. That all went out of the window in the projections of renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor and visual artist Ben Cullen Williams.

Read more...

The Art of Fugue, Schiff, Nosrati, Wigmore Hall review - rarity and quality in music and performance

Ed Vulliamy

At the start of his 75-minute pre-concert lecture on Sunday, the incomparable András Schiff staked quite a claim for the piece he was about to perform: Bach’s The Art of Fugue was, he said: “the greatest work by the greatest composer who ever lived”.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Špaček, BBC Philharmonic, Bihlmaier, Bridgewater Hall, Manch...

Billed as a “Viennese Whirl”, this programme showed that there are different kinds of music that may be known to the orchestral canon as coming...

Banging Denmark, Finborough Theatre review - lively but conf...

What would happen if a notorious misogynist actually fell in love? With a glacial Danish librarian? And decided his best means of...

Album: Fred Hersch - Silent, Listening

The previous solo piano solo album from Fred Hersch, one of the world’s great...

Music Reissues Weekly: Linda Smith - I So Liked Spring, Noth...

Three years ago, the release of Till Another Time 1988-1996 generated a thumbs up. A compilation of recordings by the Baltimore and/or...

London Tide, National Theatre review - haunting moody river...

“He do the police in different voices.” If ever one phrase summed up a work of fiction, and the art of its writer, then surely it is this...

Watts, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bignamini, Barbica...

Anyone who’d booked to hear soprano Sally Matthews or to witness the rapid progress of conductor Daniele Rustioni – the initial draw for me –...

The Songs of Joni Mitchell, Roundhouse review - fans (old an...

For most people’s 40th birthday celebrations, they might get a few...

Fantastic Machine review - photography's story from one...

The first photograph was taken nearly 200 years ago in France by Joseph Niépce, and the first picture of a person was taken in Paris by Louis...

Album: Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department: The Ant...

Taylor Swift’s unfathomable ability to articulate human emotion shines as brightly as ever in her latest double album The Tortured Poets...

Jonathan Pie, Duke of York's Theatre review - spoof pol...

If you don't like sweary comics – Jonathan Pie uses the c-word liberally – then this may not be the show for you. In fact if you're a Tory, ditto...