wed 24/10/2018

20th century

CBSO, Leleux, Birmingham Town Hall review - oboe extraordinaire

There’s always a special atmosphere when the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra returns to Birmingham Town Hall, and it’s not just because of the building’s Greek Revival beauty: the gilded sunburst on the ceiling, or the towering, intricately...

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Two-Piano Marathon, Kings Place review - dazzling duos, deep waters

You get a lot of notes for your money in a two-piano recital - especially when seven pianists share the honours for two and a half hours' worth of playing time. Well, they did call it a marathon, crowning the London Piano Festival so shiningly...

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Anderson & Roe, RLPO, Tali, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool review - measured fire

There must be something of a beauty parade going on in Liverpool now that Vasily Petrenko has called time on his tenure at Philharmonic Hall.  After all, someone will need to step into his shoes from 2021 after he departs for the Royal...

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Salome, English National Opera review - a not so terrible stillness

Sibling incest among the symbolic clutter of the Royal Opera Ring on Wednesday, last night necrophilia and a bit more incest – mother and daughter this time, courtesy of the director's imagination – in a stone-cold ENO Salome. Adena Jacobs'...

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Prom 65, London Voices, BBCSO, Bychkov review - 20th century masterpieces hit home

This Prom had three pieces from times of social crisis, although only one faces its crisis head on. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring hides its pre-war angst behind a story of pagan Russia while Ravel’s post-war desolation is danced in decadent Viennese...

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Cold War review - a gorgeous and mesmerising romance

Can we ever really know the passion that brought our parents together? By the time we are old enough to hear the story of how they first met, that lovers’ narrative has frayed in the telling and faded in the daily light of domestic familiarity. But...

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall 7, Giunta, Sikich, review - dazzlement in Bernstein and beyond

“What drivel! What nonsense! What escapist Techicolor twaddle!” No, not a description of Wallis Giunta’s scintillating BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall recital, it’s a lyric from “What A Movie”, Leonard Bernstein’s outstanding stand-alone number from his...

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Edinburgh Festival 2018 review: Benedetti, Baltimore SO, Alsop - puzzlingly tame

The Edinburgh International Festival scored quite a coup in securing the services of Bernstein protégée Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on the very day of the great composer/conductor’s centenary – and for the festival’s penultimate...

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The King review - the myth behind the man

The most famous face in musical history, and perhaps the instigator of modern culture as we know it; he truly was the King. But for a documentary focused on such an icon, The King touches very little on Elvis Presley the man. This is not another...

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The Guardians review - beautifully crafted drama

A slow tracking shot over the gassed corpses of soldiers, their masks having failed the ecstasy of fumbling, opens The Guardians. This French art house film would perhaps have been better served by the English title The Caretakers; it's...

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Prom 44, Gringytė, CBSO, Morlot review - eloquently sculpted Gallic riches

This should have been the third much-anticipated Prom of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's inspiring communicator-in-chief Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. She's now on maternity leave. So those of us who hadn't experienced Ludovic Morlot live before...

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Edinburgh Festival 2018 review: Zimerman, LSO, Rattle - fizzing chemistry

It was Simon Rattle’s first visit to the Edinburgh International Festival for – well, really quite a few years. And the first of his two concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra drew, perhaps predictably, a capacity crowd in the Usher Hall, for...

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