sun 29/03/2020

Classical Reviews

Morison, RSNO, Järvi, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review – French romance

Christopher Lambton

To hear Neeme Järvi conduct the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is to witness one of the great musical partnerships, one that has evolved into an enduring friendship.

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Daniil Trifonov, RFH review - devil in the works

David Nice

For the first 20 or so minutes and the second encore of this generous recital, I turned into a Trifonite, in thrall to the 28-year-old Russian pianist's communicative powers. Has Scriabin, in an imperious sweep from early to late, ever made more consistent sense?

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Weinberg Focus Day, Wigmore Hall review – innocence and loss, violence and calm

Gavin Dixon

Mieczysław Weinberg – where to begin? The composer died in obscurity in 1996, but his music has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity over the last ten years, culminating in this year’s global celebrations for the centenary of his birth. His music is lyrical and deeply expressive, but audiences can be forgiven for not knowing quite what to make of him. He was immensely prolific, and his works are diverse, yet a distinctive voice runs throughout them.

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The Apostles, LPO, Brabbins, RFH review - Elgar's melancholy New Testament snapshots

David Nice

The Apostles is a depressing work, mostly in a good way. Elgar's one good aspirational theme of mystic chordal progressions is easily outnumbered by a phantasmal parade of dying falls, hauntingly shaped and orchestrated.

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Angela Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review - a match made in heaven

Gavin Dixon

This recital finds Angela Hewitt nearing the end of her “Bach Odyssey”, a project to perform all of Bach’s keyboard works, in five cities around the world, between 2016 and 2020. That’s an impressive feat, especially as she performs from memory. Here she presented the English Suites Nos. 4-6, plus an early Sonata, BWV 963.

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Podger, Brecon Baroque, Hollingworth, Brecon Cathedral review - Bohemian footnotes yield the extraordinary

stephen Walsh

One of the more harmless pastimes of us retired academics is rummaging around among the so-called minor contemporaries of great and famous composers. It often turns out that quite a few of them aren’t minor at all, or at least not minor enough to have to have retired academics dig them out.

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Kozhukhin, BBC Philharmonic, Carneiro, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - melancholy heart of Mahler

Robert Beale

Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is a repertoire piece nowadays, probably as familiar to as many listeners as to orchestral players, which means you look for something distinctive in any performance to identify its essential quality against all the others.

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Gerstein, LPO, Adès, RFH review - engaging new piano concerto

Bernard Hughes

Every ten years or so Thomas Adès writes a piano concerto and the latest had its UK premiere last night at the Royal Festival Hall, played by Kirill Gerstein and conducted by Adès himself.

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Andsnes, Oslo Philharmonic, Petrenko, Barbican review – polish and passion

Boyd Tonkin

The Oslo Philharmonic finished its centenary tour of Europe at the Barbican last night with ample proof that it consistently delivers one of the continent’s most well-rounded, and richly satisfying, orchestral sounds. The Norwegians’ modern history may date to 1919, but their stellar reputation only emerged in the 1980s. Then Mariss Jansons, just like Simon Rattle over in Birmingham, shaped a supposedly “provincial” outfit into a regiment of world-beaters.

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Imogen Cooper 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall review - outwardly austere, lit from within

David Nice

There are now two septuagenarians playing Schubert at a level no other living pianist can touch.

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