mon 22/04/2024

Classical Reviews

Paraorchestra, Hazlewood, Southbank Centre review - re-thinking the orchestral experience

Bernard Hughes

The Clore Ballroom at the Southbank Centre is usually an open-plan space within the foyer, a little ambiguous in its extent and purpose. Last night, for the first time, I saw it enclosed and separated off, ambiently lit and full of smoke, for the Paraorchestra to evoke a 1970s New York loft happening, only with iPhones and the smoke coming from machines and not the audience’s wacky-baccy.

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Radulović, Hallé, de la Parra, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - fun for the young

Robert Beale

Back on home ground, the Hallé begin 2024 in Manchester with a repeated programme. I heard the first of three performances this week. It includes one piece they played only 10 days ago on a tour in Spain with the orchestra’s new principal conductor designate, Kahchun Wong.

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Balanas Sisters, Anonimi Orchestra, The Bomb Factory, Marylebone review - talented Latvian conductor heads exciting new ensemble

Rachel Halliburton

In an evening filled with "firsts" one of the many striking aspects was the effect the Anonimi Orchestra debut had on people walking past on the Marylebone Road. As we sat in the warehouse space of the Bomb Factory – with its exposed brick walls and large display windows – from time-to-time passers-by could be seen transfixed, gazing in at the vivacious ensemble bringing light to the January gloom.

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Ablogin, SCO, Emelyanychev, City Halls, Glasgow review - a happy 50th birthday

Miranda Heggie

The mood was indeed celebratory at Glasgow’s City Halls on Friday evening for the second of two concerts celebrating the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s 50th birthday. It opened with a suite from Figaro Gets a Divorce, a comic opera written by composer Eleanor Langer to a text from director and librettist David Pountney which was premiered by Welsh National Opera in 2016.

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Gerhaher, Huber, Wigmore Hall review - new colours from old favourites

Boyd Tonkin

After a frozen week, the sensual languor of Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été promised warm respite at the Wigmore Hall – especially when delivered by house favourite Christian Gerhaher and his peerless pianist, Gerold Huber.

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Sakamoto's Kagami, Tin Drum, Roundhouse review - haunting virtual reality performance from late composer

Rachel Halliburton

This mixed reality concert is simultaneously a dimension juggling conundrum, a philosophical puzzle, and a fascinating insight into what the future might hold. Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto – whose influences included Bach, John Cage and David Bowie – died in March last year, but still lives on in this curiously moving virtual event in which his performance was captured by 48 cameras at 60 frames a second.

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review - every note of Brahms’ late genius carefully weighed

David Nice

Successful performances, conductor Robin Ticciati once suggested to me, are when “the head has a conversation with the heart”. The same goes, surely, for great music, though from personal experience one has to reach a certain age to find that true of Brahms. Last night Igor Levit seemed to favour the head, occasionally missing, for me, that very elusive something at the heart of Brahms’s late piano pieces.

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BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Martin, Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff review - a host of horns in the wild woods

stephen Walsh

There were a lot of horns on display in the BBC NOW’s latest concert in Cardiff’s Hoddinott Hall. Brahms’s Second Symphony has four of them, and so does the Elegy for Brahms that Parry wrote on hearing of Brahms’s death in 1897. Gavin Higgins’s Horn Concerto, whose world premiere formed the programme’s centrepiece, has no less than five.

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SCO, Ilias-Kadesha, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh review - Eastern promise sputters out

Simon Thompson

Violinist Jonas Ilias-Kadesha was placed front and centre of the publicity for this concert. This is his first season concert with the SCO, though back in 2019 he stood in for an indisposed soloist at short notice for one of their European tours. Inviting him back is a vote of confidence, so I was looking forward to hearing him as soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Ravel’s Tzigane.

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Boris Giltburg, Wigmore Hall review - epic heaven and hell

David Nice

With rapid, sleight-of-hand flicks between calm assurance and demonic agitation, Boris Giltburg turned in a coherent and epic recital that won’t be surpassed in 2024. Most pianists would quake simply at the thought of performing the four Chopin Scherzos in sequence; Giltburg set them up with phenomenal insights into Scriabin and Schumann.

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