sat 18/08/2018

Classical Reviews

Kaufmann, Damrau, Deutsch, Barbican review - bliss, if only you closed your eyes

alexandra Coghlan

Schubert’s winter wanderer had Wilhelm Muller to voice his despair, while Schumann’s poet-in-love had Heinrich Heine. The lovers of Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch must make do with only the words of anonymous Italian authors, albeit dressed up for the salon in elegant German translations by Paul Heyse.

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Weilerstein, Czech Philharmonic, Netopil, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - drama and feeling

Robert Beale

The Czech Philharmonic on tour are a familiar sight, and they have built a following appreciative of their particular qualities, since they are an orchestra with a sound of their own – the way European orchestras used to be, in some respects. A distinguished colleague used to call them the bouncing Czechs: I like to think they are like the best of their homeland’s beer: rich, mellow, and full of character and body.

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Theatre of Voices, Kings Place review - fluidity and dynamism in Stockhausen

Gavin Dixon

The last time Theatre of Voices performed Stockhausen’s STIMMUNG in London was at the Albert Hall, at a late night Prom in 2008, so Kings Place made for a much more intimate setting. In fact, the work, which is for six unaccompanied voices, relies heavily on electronic amplification, so can be adapted to almost any environment. And Kings Place proved perfect, with its sympathetic acoustic and hi-tech audio array.

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Jansen/Maisky/Argerich Trio, Barbican review - three classical titans give chamber music masterclass

alexandra Coghlan

They were billed as a Trio, but when the classical super-group of Janine Jansen, Mischa Maisky and Martha Argerich came together at the Barbican last night it was in a sequence of different combinations, each with their own musical identity. The centre of gravity, however, remained constant.

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Baráti, Lyddon, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - Stravinsky's bright but derivative beginnings

David Nice

"You have to start somewhere," Debussy is reported to have said at the 1910 premiere of The Firebird. Which, at least, is a very good "somewhere" for Stravinsky, shot through with flashes of the personality to come.

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Capuçon, Philharmonia, Järvi, RFH review - Dvořák in blazing focus

David Nice

You can't have too much Dvořák in a single evening, at least not when the works in question operate at the highest level of volatility and melodic abundance like last night's overture, concerto and symphony.

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Clare College Choir, Manchester Camerata, Takács-Nagy, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – romance and drama

Robert Beale

It began in semi-darkness. Appropriate for Arvo Pärt, perhaps – after all, Manchester Camerata have played his music in Manchester Cathedral to great atmospheric effect in the past. But the Choir of Clare College Cambridge, conducted by Graham Ross, delivered his Da pacem Domine in a hall where it seemed as if the lights had failed … not quite the same thing.

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Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Milton Court review - Arvo Pärt plus

David Nice

Make Arvo Pärt the bulwark of any concert and you can surprise as well as delight the full house he’s likely to win you with the rest of your chosen programme.

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Hagen Quartet, Jörg Widmann, Wigmore Hall review – proportion and elegance

Gavin Dixon

Jörg Widmann writes fast. He is also one of the few young German composers who can write distinctive and idiomatic music without feeling the weight of his country’s musical heritage on his shoulders at every turn. Surprisingly, then, his Clarinet Quintet, which here received its UK premiere at Wigmore Hall, was eight years in the making, and was initially abandoned because "music history ...

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Royal Academy of Music SO, Knussen, RAM review – vibrant, varied Stravinsky

Gavin Dixon

Oliver Knussen and the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra here took us on a whistle-stop tour of Stravinsky, early and late. Few composers changed so in style so dramatically over the course of their career, so there was plenty of variety here. And just for good measure, a work by Stravinsky’s teacher Rimsky-Korsakov was included too, his Russian Easter Festival Overture.

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