wed 20/06/2018

Classical Reviews

Anna Meredith, Southbank Sinfonia, QEH review - triumphant genre-busting treat

Bernard Hughes

I’m not sure what exactly this event was – orchestral concert, electronic dance music gig or multimedia extravaganza – but however you define it, I loved every mad minute.

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - symphonies of death and new life

Peter Quantrill

In the 27 years since he first conducted Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Sir Simon Rattle has steadily integrated its moodswings and high contrasts into a reading of a piece which now feels more than ever like the work of a man engaged in a form of symphonic stock-taking – before, in the Tenth, setting out on bold new paths.

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Matthias Goerne, Seong-Jin Cho, Wigmore Hall review - slow and slower Strauss

Sebastian Scotney

Matthias Goerne has an exceptional ability to sustain evenness and legato through a vocal line. His breath control and his tone production are things to be marvelled at. He is able to function at impossibly slow tempi, and to make an audience hold its collective breath in admiration. The problem comes when he performs a recital programme which sets out to prove that point. Again and again. All evening.

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - incandescent swansongs by Mahler and Tippett

David Nice

Why would any conductor resist Mahler's last great symphonic adventure? By which I mean the vast finale of his Tenth Symphony, realised in full by Deryck Cooke, and not the first-movement Adagio, fully scored (unlike most of the rest) by the composer and puritanically regarded as the end of the line by supposed Mahlerians.

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Wang, RSNO, Oundjian, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - percussion sets Shostakovich's 'Leningrad' ablaze

Miranda Heggie

Featuring two Russian composers, the two halves of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s programme could hardly have been more different. In the first, pianist Xiayin Wang (pictured below) joined the RSNO for Scriabin’s florid, rarely-heard Piano Concerto.

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Ibragimova, Tiberghien, Wigmore Hall review – light, bright and melodic Brahms

Gavin Dixon

The Brahms violin sonatas make a perfect spring evening recital. The Second and Third were inspired by a summer retreat, but all three are light, bright and with direct melodic appeal. Violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Cédric Tiberghien conveyed that carefree spirit perfectly, the long melodic lines simply but elegantly shaped and the accompanying textures always carefully calibrated.

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Andsnes, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - dazzling symphonic contrasts, plus oddities

David Nice

Kudos, as ever, to Vladimir Jurowski for making epic connections.

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Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – cosmic perspectives

Gavin Dixon

Space is big – that seems to be the message of Unsuk Chin’s new oratorio Le Chant des Enfants des Étoiles. The work sets texts, ranging from the Baroque to the present day, concerned with space and scale.

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review – music for the ages

Gavin Dixon

Frederic Rzewski marked his 80th birthday with a visit to the Wigmore Hall, for the premiere of his aptly titled Ages.

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Dickson, SCO, Swensen, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh review - world premiere of a bold new work

Miranda Heggie

It’s as intricate as it is concise. The depth to the architecture of James MacMillan’s Saxophone Concerto – which was given its world premiere this week by saxophonist Amy Dickson and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – is quite astounding, and all the more so for being packed into three five-minute movements.

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