thu 13/08/2020

Rachmaninov Vespers, Retrospect Ensemble, Cadogan Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Rachmaninov Vespers, Retrospect Ensemble, Cadogan Hall

Rachmaninov Vespers, Retrospect Ensemble, Cadogan Hall

New Romantic branding for former King's Consort takes time to warm up

Overnight job: Retrospect tackles the VespersStephen Page
In taking on a new name last year, Retrospect Ensemble and director Matthew Halls were aiming to get rid of the “early music” label that had been stapled on to them in their previous incarnation as the King’s Consort. When I spoke to Halls last April he was positively a-tremble at the thought of putting on Brahms and Schumann with his newly rebranded group. If you think that sounds like what a lot of these so-called “early music” conductors have been doing, you’re right – it’s very much the done thing to have an illicit romp on the leather sofa of romanticism. And why not? If it works it’s surely something to get excited about. Last night’s programme certainly offered that something: Rachmaninov’s sublime all-night Vespers.

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The King's Consort (mentioned in this review of another ensemble) is, of course, alive and well and has a busy performance schedule over the coming months. In March 2010 TKC tours a large-scale Bach "St Matthew Passion" to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Lucerne Easter Festival, Auditorio Nacional Madrid and Cuenca Easter Festival, and the coming season sees TKC perform Handel "Ottone" in Vienna's Theater an der Wien, Bach and Couperin in London's Wigmore Hall, alongside concerts and tours in Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain and more besides. Soloists appearing with TKC include Carolyn Sampson, Tuva Semmingsen, Lorna Anderson, Julia Doyle, Mhairi Lawson, Iestyn Davies, Robin Blaze, James Gilchrist, Jan Kobow, Charles Daniels, Andrew Foster-Williams, David Wilson-Johnson, Crispian Steele-Perkins and other illustrious names. You can read all about forthcoming engagements, and more, at

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