fri 19/04/2019

1930s

Ehnes, BBC Philharmonic, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - contrasts from the 1930s

John Wilson conducted Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester just over a year ago with great success, in a programme of music from the 1940s. This time it was the very different, troubled Fourth, and the context was...

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Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem. Two practically new song cycles for soprano and quartet – Kate Whitley’s Charlotte...

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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Birmingham Opera Company review - searing music-theatre for all

A rum cove sidles up pimping with a tatty business card offering the services of Sonyetka. Not for me, I say, pointing out that in any case she’ll be dead three hours later. "That's more than I know," he says and wanders off to hook other possible...

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Fiona MacCarthy: Walter Gropius review - a master of modernism

The centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus (literally, “Building House”) art school is on us, prompting publications and exhibitions worldwide. Subtitled “Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus”, Fiona MacCarthy’s revelatory biography of the figure...

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Follies, National Theatre review - the Sondheim spectacular returns, better than ever

This is a golden age of London Sondheim revivals, with Marianne Elliott’s thrilling Company still playing in the West End, and Dominic Cooke’s Follies getting a hugely welcome second run at the National – both testament to a director’s...

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The American Clock, Old Vic review - Arthur Miller's musical history lesson drags

This year’s unofficial Arthur Miller season – following The Price and ahead of All My Sons at the Old Vic and Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic – now turns to his 1980 work, The American Clock, inspired in part by Miller’s own memories of the...

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Hadelich, CBSO, Măcelaru, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - industrial strength Vaughan Williams

Well, I didn’t expect that – and judging from the way the rest of the audience reacted, nor did anyone else. After Cristian Măcelaru slammed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra full speed into the final chord of Vaughan Williams’s Fourth...

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Magda Szabó: Katalin Street review - love after life

This is a love story and a ghost story. The year is 1934 and the Held family have moved from the countryside to an elegant house on Katalin Street in Budapest. Their new neighbours are the Major (with whom Mr Held fought in the Great War) and his...

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Stan and Ollie review - a worthy double act

Stan & Ollie unfolds mostly during Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s 1953 British concert tour, when the boys were on their last legs as a comedy act – Hardy was physically spent – but still showing flashes of their old genius. The lure of the tour...

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Mary Poppins Returns review - Emily Blunt makes the role her own

It's perhaps unfair to review a film through the prism of one that predates it by more than half a century, but even fans of Mary Poppins Returns (and I am one of them) can't help doing so. Mary Poppins (1964) has become such an established part of...

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The Box of Delights, Wilton's Music Hall review - captivating adaptation of John Masefield's darkly thrilling novel

If you’re looking for a Christmas with more pagan edge than saccharine cheer, where the wolves are howling and the mythological characters are steeped in the terror and mystery of winter’s long dark nights, then make haste to Wilton’s Music Hall....

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Our Classical Century, BBC Four review - enthusiasm and delight

Jerusalem! This fact-studded story of 20th century British music told us that the nation's unofficial national anthem, Hubert Parry’s setting of William Blake’s poem, originated in 1916 as a commission from the “Fight for Right” movement. Officials...

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