tue 14/08/2018

Classical Reviews

Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review – music for the ages

Gavin Dixon

Frederic Rzewski marked his 80th birthday with a visit to the Wigmore Hall, for the premiere of his aptly titled Ages.

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Dickson, SCO, Swensen, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh review - world premiere of a bold new work

Miranda Heggie

It’s as intricate as it is concise. The depth to the architecture of James MacMillan’s Saxophone Concerto – which was given its world premiere this week by saxophonist Amy Dickson and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – is quite astounding, and all the more so for being packed into three five-minute movements.

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Chineke!, Parnther, QEH review - a joyful re-building of the house

Boyd Tonkin

Even after the venue’s 30-month refurbishment, you still would not choose the sprawling foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall as the prime site for a pre-concert speech.

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Gulyak, Orchestra of Opera North, Stasevska, Leeds Town Hall – uncommonly exciting

graham Rickson

Bach’s Art of Fugue, or maybe Mahler’s Ninth? Nah - in my book, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances is the greatest last work ever composed. This extraordinary piece gets everything right: a kaleidoscopic summing up of a long career which never lapses into dewy-eyed nostalgia.

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Bernstein's MASS, RFH review - polymorphousness in excelsis

David Nice

Live exposure to centenary composer Leonard Bernstein's anything-goes monsterpiece of 1971, as with Britten's War Requiem of the previous decade, probably shouldn't happen more than once every ten years, if only because each performance has to be truly special.

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Gerhardt, RPO, Payare, RFH review - personality muted by faceless conducting

David Nice

Former Royal Philharmonic Orchestra principal conductor Charles Dutoit has been exposed, to little surprise from musicians, as something of a roué whose apparent refusal to take "no" for an answer has rubbed up against the new #MeToo world. So his place in last night's concert was taken by Venezuelan Rafael Payare, not yet 40.

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Haveron, BBC Philharmonic, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - spirit of the 1940s

Robert Beale

John Wilson has built a reputation as a conductor which marks him out as a musicians’ musician. He doesn’t present himself with any pomposity, even wearing a neat black tie and lounge jacket on this occasion, while the male musicians around him were in white tie and tails. He doesn’t play to the gallery either: there’s a smile and a bow, but no flamboyance in his on-stage demeanour.

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Martín, SCO, Ticciati, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - farewell to the best of chief conductors

Miranda Heggie

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s final season concert conducted by Robin Ticciati, who leaves his post as chief conductor of the SCO for the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, was bound to be an emotional occasion. Spanning a decade, the relationship between orchestra and conductor has been a very special one indeed, and has seen an abundance of success over the past 10 years.

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Donohoe, LPO, Orozco-Estrada, RFH review – wit aplenty in rare Stravinsky

Bernard Hughes

I left this concert a bit depressed, but not because of anything I heard: rather, by the conservatism of London concert-goers. As London orchestras focus on programming the usual wall-to-wall Brahms, Beethoven and Mahler, the LPO was rewarded for their excursion from the well-trodden path by the punters staying away in droves from this imaginative programme.

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Faust, LSO, Gardiner, Barbican review - Schumann as never before

David Nice

When a great musician pulls out of a concerto appearance, you're usually lucky if a relative unknown creates a replacement sensation. In this case not one but two star pianists withdrew – Maria João Pires, scheduling early retirement, succeeded by an unwell Piotr Anderzewski – and instead we had that most musicianly and collaborative of violinists Isabelle Faust in Schumann, not the scheduled Mozart.

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