mon 18/03/2019

19th century

Faust, Matthews, LSO, Haitink, Barbican review - glimpses of heaven

Vibrant rustic dancing to conclude the first half, a heavenly barcarolle to cast a spell of silence at the end of the second: Bernard Haitink's 90th birthday celebrations of middle-European mastery wrought yet more magic in Dvořák and Mahler after...

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Berlioz Requiem, Spyres, Philharmonia Orchestra, Nelson, St Paul's Cathedral review - masses and voids

Asked to choose five or ten minutes of favourite Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death (yesterday), surely few would select anything from his giant Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts). This is a work to shock and awe, not to be loved - music...

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Bernheim, Finley, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - top Italians in second gear

Would Verdi and Puccini have composed more non-operatic music, had they thrived in a musical culture different to Italy's? Hard to say. What we do know is that they both became absolute masters of orchestration – Puccini rather quicker than Verdi,...

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Hardenberger, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new work trumpets a sun journey

The BBC Philharmonic and its chief guest conductor John Storgårds introduced their Manchester audience to two new things – possibly three – in this concert. One was a world premiere, and you can’t get much newer than that. The other big item was a...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Dawson City - Frozen Time

Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time is an intoxicating cinematic collage-compilation that embraces social history – in microcosm, via its story of the titular Canadian mining town – as well as the history of film itself. But it goes further,...

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Elīna Garanča, Malcolm Martineau, Wigmore Hall review - towards transcendence

It seems an almost indecent luxury to have heard two top mezzos in just over a week with so much to express, backed up by the perfect technique and instrument with which to do so. Georgian Anita Rachvelishvili with Pappano and the Royal Opera...

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John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing, Two Temple Place review - inside the mind of a visionary

The power of seeing was the bedrock of John Ruskin’s philosophy. In the bicentenary of his birth, a revelatory exhibition at Two Temple Place in London opens out the idea and makes it manifest through both his own work and the treasures of his...

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La Damnation de Faust, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - 'concert opera' indeed

Berlioz called it a "concert opera". His telling of the Faust story is in scenes and highly theatrical, but a bit of a challenge to put on in the theatre, with its marching armies, floating sylphs, dancing will-o’-the-wisps and galloping horses. It...

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Les Misérables, BBC One, series finale review - more moving than revealing

It took the best part of six episodes, but we got there in the end: the reason David Oyelowo accepted the confusingly underwritten part of Inspector Javert in BBC One’s adaptation of Les Misérables was finally revealed. His pursuit of an ex-convict...

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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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Die Walküre, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - love shines out

Harpers on the undeniably offensive aspect of Wagner the man might question attending a concert performance of his second Ring opera on World Holocaust Day. Fortunately there's nothing anti-semitic to be found anywhere in Die Walküre. As embodied by...

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Hough, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - film music flows

No one worried about melting icecaps and homeless penguins when Vaughan Williams wrote his score for the film Scott of the Antarctic around 70 years ago. (They do now, as a new music theatre piece by Laura Bowler to be premiered by Manchester...

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