fri 26/02/2021

18th century

Pavel Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall online review - the joyful wisdom of the Goldbergs

Aside from the happy accident of longevity, something that set Bach and Handel and Telemann apart from their contemporaries was fluency. I’m speaking here of musical rather than verbal tongues: the least polyglot of them was Bach, with his command...

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Blu-ray: Liberté

Catalan director Albert Serra’s interest in late 18th century France is well established – his previous film was The Death of Louis XIV – but the title of his new one has precious little to do with the triadic revolutionary slogan that swept away...

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András Schiff, Wigmore Hall review - Bach in isolation

Amid madness, fear and death, there is still an oasis in the music of Bach - and Bach played by András Schiff in the Wigmore Hall is a special type of haven. Normally one can’t get in to those concerts because they are instantly sold out, even...

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The Great, Channel 4 review - Russian history gets a whirl in the fictional blender

History ain’t what it used to be, not on television at any rate. Recently we’ve witnessed the ongoing furore about the factual accuracy or otherwise of The Crown, while Bridgerton has cheekily galloped bareback over the conventional cliches of telly...

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Così fan tutte, Scottish Opera online review - wit and deception in an empty theatre

For its latest production, unveiled on Sunday evening but recorded in November, Scottish Opera toys playfully with the absurdities of Covid-compliant performance practice. But maybe sensing our weariness with the whole business, it is not overdone....

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Ariodante, Royal Opera online review – stylish, but confined

“After black and gloomy night, the sun shines all the brighter,” sings hero Ariodante after a life-threatening bout of jealousy nearly scuppers a royal wedding. There’s a snag in Handel’s dramaturgy: all that sunshine in preparation for the nuptials...

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City of London Sinfonia, Southwark Cathedral review – towards Haydn’s last symphony

Nearly two weeks into the latest lockdown, and already I feel nostalgic about the last day of freedom. You should too, just watching the film released last night of the CLS’s most recent happening in Southwark Cathedral. It’s of the evening...

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Mozart's Requiem, English National Opera, BBC Two review - strong and direct act of remembrance

It must have felt very strange to Mark Wigglesworth that he returned to the London Coliseum under such unanticipated circumstances. ENO’s shortest-lived but also (many of us think) best Music Director campaigned from the start for direct...

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Harlots, BBC Two review – sublime, ridiculous, and always entertaining

Back to Georgian brothels, now – at least, for those of us who don’t have a Hulu subscription. The BBC’s airing of the second series of Harlots over the summer felt strangely timely. Barely an episode in and an angry crowd was hammering at the local...

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The Magic Flute, Glyndebourne review - deeply moving light in darkness

How does Mozart do it? His music can provoke deep emotions even in the unlikeliest operatic situations, if well done, and present circumstances stirred them up all the more on Sunday afternoon. Those flirtatious ladies flouncing around the prone...

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Gigantic Cinema: A Weather Anthology review - wild writing to stimulate the senses

Among the French composer Claude Debussy’s greatest and characteristically subtle innovations was to put the titles at the end of his pieces. He did this in his piano collection Preludes: the titles, trailed by ellipses and clothed in brackets...

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The Old Guard review - serious silliness

It’s hard to take The Old Guard seriously — it’s an action film about thousand-year-old immortal warriors. Pulpy flashbacks and fake blood abounds. But The Old Guard doesn’t need to be serious or even memorable: it’s a fun, feel-good film, a rare...

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