mon 22/04/2024

Classical Reviews

Selaocoe, Schimpelsberger, LSO, Ward, Barbican review - force of nature crowns dance jamboree

David Nice

It was good of the EFG London Jazz Festival to support this concert and bring in a different audience from the one the LSO is used to. But how to define it? Jazz only briefly figured in works by Gary Carpenter, Bartók, Barber and Abel Selaocoe. The only category would seem to be All Things Vital and Dancing. Anyone who’d come just for the phenomenal South Africa-born cellist, singer and composer must have been riveted by the rest, too.

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West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, QEH review - enchantment and conviviality

Boyd Tonkin

What a month, and what a day, for Michael Barenboim to bring the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble to London.

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Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Currie, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh review - maximum minimalism

Christopher Lambton

Chameleon among orchestras, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra hung up its habitual classical cloak in favour of an evening of 20th and 21st century minimalism, curated, presented, and conducted by the star percussionist Colin Currie.

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Perfection of a Kind: Britten vs Auden, City of London Sinfonia, QEH review - the odd couple

Boyd Tonkin

“Underneath the abject willow/ Lover, sulk no more;/ Act from thought should quickly follow:/ What is thinking for?” In 1936, early in their tempestuous friendship, WH Auden wrote a poem for Benjamin Britten that urged the younger artist to pursue his passions – musical and erotic – and curb his fearful longing for comfort and safety.

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The Creation, Choirs of King's College & New College Oxford, Philharmonia, Hyde, King's College Chapel, Cambridge - sublime setting for mundane performance

Sebastian Scotney

“Let his words resound on high,” sings the choir in the final chorus of The Creation. In King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, it is hard not to want to look up, to admire the splendour of the largest fan vaulting anywhere in Europe. King’s truly is hard to beat as a setting in which to hear Haydn’s oratorio.

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L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Monteverdi Choir, EBS, Sousa, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - Handel at his most magical

David Nice

There was a good reason why Milton never added a Moderato, a “middle way”, to his masterly poems on mirth in bright day (L’Allegro) and more reflective pleasures by night (Il Penseroso), and a bad one why Handel allowed Charles Jennens to tack on his own ode to reason; neither poetry nor music should have much to do with pure intellect.

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Maxim Vengerov, Polina Osetinskaya, Barbican review - masterclass in technique with a thrilling rage of emotions

Rachel Halliburton

For the first half of this spellbinding recital, Maxim Vengerov chose three works framed by one of Romantic music’s most infamous and turbulent stories.

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Lang Lang, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - playing with the music

Robert Beale

The showman was back – and, bless him, he can still sell every seat in a big hall even if the programme offers close on an hour and a half of unalloyed Bach.

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Lugansky, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - so sure in all their ways

David Nice

It’s a given that no finer Rachmaninov interpreter exists than Nikolai Lugansky – a few others may see the works differently, not better – and that Vasily Petrenko has an uncanny affinity with both the swagger and the introspection of Elgar. But just how clearly and deeply both made their understanding felt seemed like an harmonious miracle in the most famous of all Second Piano Concertos and a parallel journey of revitalisation from Petrenko in Elgar’s world-embracing First Symphony.

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Feldmann, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - adventures in the unusual

Robert Beale

For the most adventurous programme in its autumn Saturday series at the Bridgewater Hall, the BBC Philharmonic’s John Storgårds brought two works from his native Finland’s repertoire, and a concerto some distance from the beaten track.Like the Hallé’s concert of mainly new music with Thomas Adès two days before, it did not pull the crowds in, despite a sweetener in the mix, but those who were there were enthusiastic.

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