sun 19/01/2020

19th century

Currie, Jordan, NCO, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - major marimba music

Finding one piece for marimba soloist and string orchestra would tax the powers of many concert planners, never mind coming up with two, so the Northern Chamber Orchestra is to be congratulated on its first Manchester performance of 2020 –...

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Nathalie Léger: Exposition review – mysteries, rumours and facts

Nathalie Léger’s superbly original Exposition is a biographical novel meditating on the nature of biography itself. Its plot – if indeed its 150 pages of intense reflection bordering continuously on stream of consciousness can be called a plot – is...

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A Christmas Carol, BBC One review – Dickens classic recast as gruelling horror story

If you came to this expecting to be reminded of such ghosts of Scrooges past as Alastair Sim or Bill Murray, you will have been reaching either for the brandy or the defibrillator. In the hands of screenwriter Steven Peaky Blinders Knight and...

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Bauer, CBSO, Koenig, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - Christoph pulls it off

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s programmes in Birmingham are so personal – so utterly bespoke – that in the event of her being indisposed, they present something of a problem. That’s what happened this week. The programme was vintage Gražinytė-Tyla –...

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Roméo et Juliette, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - surprisingly sober take on Berlioz epic

So much was fresh and exciting about Michael Tilson Thomas's years as the London Symphony Orchestra's Principal Conductor (1988-1995; I don't go as far back as his debut, the 50th anniversary of which is celebrated this season). Carved in the memory...

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Wallfisch, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - Weinberg UK premiere

Everyone’s doing Weinberg now, or so it seems. The Polish-born composer who became a close friend of Shostakovich was born 100 years ago, and there’s plenty of his music to go round. Raphael Wallfisch gave the UK premiere of his Cello...

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Julian Barnes: The Man in the Red Coat review – all that glitters…

“Chauvinism is the worst form of ignorance” is the maxim of Dr Pozzi, the hero of Julian Barnes’s latest book, The Man in the Red Coat. This historical biography follows the life of a renowned gynaecologist during the Parisian Belle Époque, the “...

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Morison, RSNO, Järvi, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review – French romance

To hear Neeme Järvi conduct the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is to witness one of the great musical partnerships, one that has evolved into an enduring friendship. It was in 1984 that the Estonian Järvi was appointed to succeed Sir Alexander...

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Kozhukhin, BBC Philharmonic, Carneiro, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - melancholy heart of Mahler

Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is a repertoire piece nowadays, probably as familiar to as many listeners as to orchestral players, which means you look for something distinctive in any performance to identify its essential quality against all the others....

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Ehnes, Hallé, Gabel, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - happy unexpected discoveries

Changes from the artists originally advertised can bring some happy discoveries. Sir Mark Elder, though present in the audience to hear last night’s Hallé performance at the Bridgewater Hall, was still recovering from surgery and so did not conduct...

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Fry, AAM, Egarr, Barbican review – revival and revolution

Second performances are even more valuable than premieres, composers say, when it comes to launching a piece into the world. Spare a thought, then, for Jan Ladislav Dussek, who has had to wait over two centuries for this prize to be awarded to his...

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Beethoven Festival Weekend, Wigmore Hall review 2 - total mastery in tone and depth

Any festival would be proud and honoured to end with the great Elisabeth Leonskaja playing the last three Beethoven piano sonatas. Here the Everest was swiftly scaled as the tenth concert of a packed Wigmore Hall weekend. How I wish I could have...

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