wed 15/08/2018

Classical Reviews

Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel, Barbican review - brilliant if overwhelming showcase

David Nice

Insistence was the name of the LA Phil's first game in its short but ambitious three-day Barbican residency - insistence honed to a perfect sheen and focus, but wearing, for this listener at least, some way in to the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony played in the second half.

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Chiaroscuro Quartet, Kings Place review – antique melancholy

Peter Quantrill

When a “historically informed” performance leaves a lasting imprint on the memory, it does so like a good historical novel, by bringing to bear not only a wealth of period detail but the unarguable flavour of a time that is not our own. This was a particular strength of the Chiaroscuro Quartet’s recital at Kings Place on Sunday.

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Nikolai Lugansky / Pavel Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall review - lucidity and depth from two master pianists

David Nice

Reaching for philosophical terms seems appropriate enough for two deep thinkers among Russian pianists (strictly speaking, Kolesnikov is Siberian-born, London-based).

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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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