sun 20/10/2019

18th century

William Blake, Tate Britain - sympathy for the rebel

Poor Satan. Adam and Eve are loved-up, snogging on a flowery hillock and all he’s got for company is a snake — an extension of himself no less, and where’s the fun in monologues? Poor, poor Satan. He’s a hunk too, if you don’t mind blue. Coiffed...

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Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Takács-Nagy, Stoller Hall, Manchester, review - concertos as opera

Manchester Camerata’s series of in-concert recordings featuring Mozart piano concertos with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is well under way now, and this programme, like others before it, included a couple of his opera overtures too. Why so? "Because all...

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Agrippina, Royal Opera review - carry on up the Campidoglio

It was said of the Venetian audiences randy for the satirical antique of Handel's first great operatic cornucopia in 1709 that "a stranger who should have seen the manner in which they were affected, would have imagined they were all distracted"....

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Prom 71: Dunedin Consort, Butt review – Bach to the drawing-board please

Blame it on the box set. The four Bach Orchestral Suites fit neatly together as a recording project. They used to fill out the four sides of a double LP back in the early stages of the baroque revival. Completists and collectors could rejoice then,...

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William Dalrymple: The Anarchy review – masterly history of the first rogue corporation

Serious historians don’t much care for counter-factual speculations. Readers, however, often enjoy them. So here’s mine. In 1780, the seemingly invincible forces of the East India Company had suffered a crushing defeat at Pollilur, west of Madras....

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gounod, James MacMillan, Johannes Pramsohler

 Gounod: Symphonies 1 and 2 Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos)Roger Nichols’ lucid sleeve note underlines the point that Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique singularly failed to kick off a 19th century French symphonic...

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2019 - a musical journey through the Périgord

We’ve all had the experience of wandering into a church, only to discover it filled unexpectedly with music: the choir rehearsing for Evensong, a local orchestra practising, a soprano and organist getting ready for a weekend wedding. This spirit of...

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Prom 14: The Creation, BBC Proms Youth Choir, BBC Philharmonic, Wellber - Haydn on the edge

Hello sun, hello great whales, hello choral counterpoint. If there is a more life-enhancing work than Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation, I’ve yet to hear one. Its sheer joie-de-vivre was a felicitous arrival at the Proms, where it really...

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Alder, The Mozartists, Page, Wigmore Hall review - a Mozart feast for eyes and ears

Seven European cities, seven works: from an eight-year-old's First Symphony composed in what is now Ebury Street to the towering concert aria for Josepha Dushchek of Prague's Villa Bertramka, Ian Page's latest Mozart cornucopia took us on a rich and...

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Beecham House, ITV review - a cartoon version of 18th century India

It has become routine to accuse Brexiteers of wanting to bring back the British Empire (though obviously it's OK to run an empire from Brussels), but the charge might more accurately be levelled at ITV. They’ve brought the ratings rolling in with...

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Bauci e Filemone/Orfeo, Classical Opera, QEH review - a star Orpheus is born

All happy 18th century couples are alike, it seems, and that makes for a certain placidity in Gluck's pastoral Bauci e Filomene for the (unhappy) wedding of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma and Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria. All unhappy couples are...

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Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), Brighton Festival 2019 review - a feverishly foul-mouthed musical comedy

Five years ago this Kneehigh Theatre production caused a stir with its vibrant modern retelling of John Gay’s 18th century satirical classic, The Beggar’s Opera. It’s currently on tour again and it’s easy to see why a revival was greenlit. It’s a...

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