sun 31/05/2020

Classical Reviews

Missa solemnis, BBCSO, Runnicles, Barbican review - affirmation in the face of adversity

Peter Quantrill

The tough, knotty writing of the Missa solemnis – its “unrelenting integrity”, Donald Runnicles said in a pre-concert interview – was addressed unflinchingly last night by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. They have a distinguished history with the piece, having given memorable Proms performances with Sir Colin Davis and Bernard Haitink – and remembered now by a hissy tape transfer, Pierre Boulez to open the 1972 season.

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Denk, LPO, Vänskä, RFH review - 200 years of joy and sorrow

David Nice

Three works two centuries apart, two of them rarities, with 100/200 years between each: that's no guarantee for programming success, and no way to fill a hall (though the London Philharmonic Orchestra admin deserves a good medal for the intricacy of its “2020 Vision” series planning, linked to the Beethoven anniversary and explained by Gavin Dixon in his review of Vladimir Jurowski’s launch concert earlier this month...

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Hallé, Elder, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, review - fiery Beethoven tribute

Robert Beale

Honouring Beethoven in Manchester is a united enterprise, at least between the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic, two symphony orchestras that have worked out a series of Beethoven specials between them.

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Grosvenor, Park, Ridout, Soltani, QEH review - inspired collegiality at the highest level

Jessica Duchen

Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss are not the composers you'd hear at a typical chamber music concert. Their early efforts at piano quartets made up the first half of an evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with Benjamin Grosvenor and friends that was, in any case, far from typical. Topped off with the mature Brahms’s Third Piano Quartet, wasn’t it going to be too much rugged Alpine rocky road? In the hands of these youthful musicians, it wasn’t. The audience couldn’t get enough of them.

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Simon Trpčeski, Barbican review - a charismatic chameleon

David Nice

When Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski first bounced on to the concert scene, he seemed part will-o-the-wisp, part jack-in-the-box, a real personality of coruscating brilliance.

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Gabetta, NHK SO, Järvi, RFH review - transparency and dynamism

Gavin Dixon

This concert represented the British leg of the NHK Symphony Orchestra’s European tour. Tokyo’s radio orchestra is Japan’s flagship ensemble, and they are fine advocates for the country’s thriving musical culture, the playing precise and the tone focused.

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Joanna MacGregor, Adrian Brendel, Gildas Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - gold and silver

David Nice

Startlingly high levels of expression and focused fire made this rich concert worthy of the dedicatee who radiated those qualities, Jacqueline du Pré.

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Aimard, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Roth, RFH review - Beethoven as avant-gardist

David Nice

In Beethoven anniversary year, there are three ways to enhance our ongoing concert dialogues with the composer beyond the bog-standard overture-concerto-symphony format: complete cycles of the quartets, symphonies and sonatas, preferably without old vulgarians presenting; focusing on Beethoven and his contemporaries, including programmes recreated from the early 1800s; and linking the genius with what our...

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Andsnes, Mahler Chamber Orchestra Soloists, Wigmore Hall review - conversations with Mozart

Boyd Tonkin

Leif Ove Andsnes’s long-term partnership with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra has already yielded rich fruit, and the Mozart quartets and trio he performed last night with members of the top-notch nomad band proved just as succulent. However, I would hardly have been alone in leaving the Wigmore Hall with my strongest impressions stirred by the single solo work that the versatile Norwegian master-pianist allowed himself.

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Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony, Philharmonia, Hrůša, RFH review - big picture, stunning details

David Nice

So many performances of Mahler's most theatrical symphony every season, so few conductors who have something radically fresh to say about it.

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