wed 12/12/2018

20th century

Candide, LSO, Alsop, Barbican review - nearly the best of all possible...

When the biggest laugh in Bernstein’s Candide goes to a narrator’s mention of how nationalism was sweeping through Europe, you may have a problem. Still, the Bernstein Centenary has been among the best of all possible anniversary celebrations this...

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L'heure espagnole, Mid Wales Opera review - Ravel goes like clockwork

Mid Wales Opera makes small-scale touring look fun – even when you suspect that, behind the scenes, it really isn’t. Barely 24 hours before this performance of their current production of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, and 11 dates into their current 16...

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Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – three iconic works

At first sight, performing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring – premiered in 1913 and sometimes seen as presaging the whole world of modernism – in the centenary year of the 1918 Armistice might seem to be lagging behind in timing (if centenaries float...

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Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain review - time for a rethink?

When, in 1853, Edward Burne-Jones (or Edward Jones as he then was) went up to Exeter College, Oxford, it could hardly have been expected that the course of his life would change so radically. His mother having died in childbirth, he was brought up...

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Borodin Quartet, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - mixed results in oddball Czechfest

How many times have you heard live in concert a concerto for string quartet and instrumental ensemble? In my case, three, all of the occasions performances of John Adams's Beethoven-based giant scherzo Absolute Jest. Two more got added to the list...

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Klimt/Schiele, Royal Academy review - the line of gauntness

The most touching tribute to the relationship between two giants of early 20th century art, Gustav Klimt and the much younger Egon Schiele, hangs in the first room of this fascinating exhibition at the Royal Academy  – Schiele’s poster for the...

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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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