thu 24/01/2019

Classical Reviews

Prom 74, Theodora, Arcangelo, Cohen review - coherent and compelling Handel

Gavin Dixon

This was the first complete performance of Theodora at the Proms, one of a series of Handel oratorios initiated with William Christie’s Israel in Egypt last year. Theodora is more often performed today as a staged opera, most famously in the Peter Sellars production at Glyndebourne in the 1990s.

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Prom 72, War Requiem, RSNO, Oundjian review - the pity, and the spectacle, of war

Boyd Tonkin

A day after John Eliot Gardiner and wandering violist Antoine Tamestit had converted the Royal Albert Hall into a sonic map of Hector Berlioz’s Italy, conductor Peter Oundjian and his full-strength divisions transported us to the Western Front.

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Prom 71, DiDonato, Tamestit, ORR, Gardiner review - concert Berlioz as bracing theatre

David Nice

How do you make your mark in a crucial last week after the Olympian spectaculars of Kirill Petrenko's Proms with the Berlin Philharmonic?

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Prom 69, Skride, Boston SO, Nelsons / Proms at...Cadogan Hall 8, Berlin Philharmonic Soloists review - sophisticated limits

David Nice

Crazy days are here again – many of us are lucky not to have been born when the last collectve insanity blitzed the world – and nothing in Shostakovich seems too outlandish for reality. On the other hand, there's a growing movement to liberate his symphonic arguments from rhetoric and context.

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Prom 67, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Nelsons / Prom 68, Berlin Philharmonic, Petrenko review - frenzy and finesse

Boyd Tonkin

Did the earth move for us? You bet.

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Prom 66, Wang, Berlin Philharmonic, Petrenko review - intense perfection

David Nice

Setting aside any reservations about a slight overall timidity in repertoire choices - no problems with that last night - this year's Proms have worked unexpectedly well, above all with their weekend strands.

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Prom 65, London Voices, BBCSO, Bychkov review - 20th century masterpieces hit home

Bernard Hughes

This Prom had three pieces from times of social crisis, although only one faces its crisis head on. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring hides its pre-war angst behind a story of pagan Russia while Ravel’s post-war desolation is danced in decadent Viennese waltz time in La Valse.

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Prom 63, Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 2, Schiff review - the universe within

David Nice

It was the C major Prelude and Fugue from this second book of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, not its more familiar counterpart in Book One, which found itself tracked on a gold-plated disc inside Voyager I to reach whatever intelligent life there may be outside our solar system.

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall 7, Giunta, Sikich, review - dazzlement in Bernstein and beyond

David Benedict

“What drivel! What nonsense! What escapist Techicolor twaddle!” No, not a description of Wallis Giunta’s scintillating BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall recital, it’s a lyric from “What A Movie”, Leonard Bernstein’s outstanding stand-alone number from his one-act opera Trouble In Tahiti.

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Edinburgh Festival 2018 review: Benedetti, Baltimore SO, Alsop - puzzlingly tame

David Kettle

The Edinburgh International Festival scored quite a coup in securing the services of Bernstein protégée Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on the very day of the great composer/conductor’s centenary – and for the festival’s penultimate concert of 2018.

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