sun 16/06/2024

Classical Reviews

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko, Royal Albert Hall

Jonathan Wikeley Hats off, gentlemen: a thoroughly enjoyable banquet of Romanticism from Petrenko and the RLPO

What a thrilling sound the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra can make when it chooses! What a grippingly deep tone, from a lower strings section that sounds like you’ve got the bass on your car stereo turned up daringly high, what clinical precision (in the best sense of the word) in the wind section, what power in the brass. At times you could almost see the surges of energy shooting off into the auditorium. You could certainly hear it.

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First Night of the 2010 Proms

David Nice

Numerologists may have been fretting over whether Proms forces could match the apocryphal thousand of the mightiest Eighth Symphony's 1910 world premiere, which Mahler feared would turn into a "catastrophic Barnum and Bailey show". With nothing like 350 in the children's chorus, for a start, not a chance.

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Ivana Gavrić, Wigmore Hall

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

There are some recitals where you think only about the abstracted music - the harmonic arguments, the structural cleverness, the textural ingenuity - and there are others where you are forced to confront  the presence of a set of living, breathing, leering musical beasts.

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Chopin Unwrapped, Martino Tirimo, Kings Place

David Nice

So most of us blinked and missed Martha Argerich gliding into Kings Place's Argentine celebrations last week. Yet here I am writing again about this liveliest of venues' Chopin marathon, and like a would-be Prommer who joins the last night party without having been to the Albert Hall more than once in the season I'm culpable of marking the grand finale after...

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The Bernstein Project - Mass, Royal Festival Hall

David Nice Marin Alsop and the electric guitars, tip of the 500-strong iceberg in Bernstein's 'Mass'

It's been quite a week for youth and the vernacular in the world of so-called “classical” music. Multiply by four the seven fledgling stage animals currently firing up John Adams’s “earthquake-romance” in London's East End, add an orchestra of 13-to-24-year-olds from four continents, student dancers,...

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LPO, David Murphy, Royal Festival Hall

alexandra Coghlan Anoushka Shankar brings humour, humanity and uncomplicated directness to her performance

A packed Festival Hall and a cheering, stamping, standing ovation – hardly the usual welcome for an evening of contemporary music. Sitting, wizened and waistcoat-clad, at the centre of the front row was the reason: Ravi Shankar. Framed by the mathematical minimalism of John Adams’ Shaker Loops and Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Shankar’s first-ever symphony was last night given its world premiere by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Philharmonia Orchestra, Temirkanov, Royal Festival Hall

David Nice

Perhaps we'd better get the Prokofiev part of the opening concert out of the way first.  I have a real problem with Russian whizz pianist of the moment Denis Matsuev. His iron-clad technique and heavyweight thunder still leave some room for quieter playing, but where were the atmosphere or the bright nimbleness in the tour de force of the Third Piano Concerto?

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Pollini, London Symphony Orchestra, Eötvös, Barbican Hall

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Helmut Lachenmann is a sort of George Bush of contemporary classical composition, a bogeyman, a warrior, an ideologue.

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Thomas Adès, London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

If the second half of the 20th century saw opera throttled by existential crises, and left composers wondering whether the only future for the art form was for it to be hung out to dry, or to become an arcane intellectualised annex for the musical games then in vogue, Gerald Barry's one-act opera, La plus forte (2006) - receiving its UK premiere in a concert performance last night - marks the end of hostilities. So effortlessly does Barry seem to rise above the tangled,...

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Judith Weir, Bath Festival

stephen Walsh

In general, I’m no particular fan of composers talking in public about their own music. My family suggests that this is because I’m hoping to get the job of talking about it myself. But the real reason is that, on the whole, composers don’t tell the truth about their work – and indeed why should they? Creative work is a mysterious and impenetrable process, and it’s a very modern, right-to-know sort of assumption that those who do it should also be able to explain it. Probably nobody is.

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