mon 16/12/2019

Barbican

Cargill, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - high anxiety and visionary gleams

What a jolting coincidence that one of the 20th century's angriest symphonic beasts should have a rare unleashing on a night of high national anxiety. Whether Vaughan Williams spewed forth his Fourth Symphony in response to darkening European clouds...

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Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Agnew, Barbican review – splendid Baroque knees-up

“How many times have you heard the conductor sing?” asked William Christie after the final number, but before the two encores, of Sunday night’s 40th birthday celebration for his ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Well, lovers of old recordings know...

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Schiff, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer, Barbican review – generosity and geniality

There are encores and encores – most a friendly, minimal farewell gesture from the soloist; some a jolly, festive unwind after a particularly taxing piece. And then there’s the luxury free gift that Sir András Schiff bestowed on us during the second...

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Family Total Immersion: Lift Off!, BBC SO, Glassberg, Barbican review – 50th anniversary tribute to Apollo 11

This family concert – “Total Immersion: Lift Off!” – was basically a small-scale rerun of this year’s CBeebies Prom, that one entitled “Off to the Moon”. The Prom had a space theme, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and...

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Iggy Pop, Barbican review - proto-punk legend goes jazz... sort of

A few years ago it would have been hard to envisage proto-punk maniac Iggy Pop being a star feature of the EFG London Jazz Festival. His last few albums, though, have been heavily flecked with jazz, and let’s not forget that as far back as The...

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Wang, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel, Barbican review - much more than glitz and glamour

The megastars are here at the Barbican, for an intensive three days in the case of the LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel, throughout the season as the hall shines an "Artist Spotlight" on pianist Yuja Wang. Despite a shallow opener showcasing the...

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Measure for Measure, RSC, Barbican review - behind the times

Because he dramatised power, Shakespeare never really goes out of fashion. Treatments of his plays do though, and the RSC’s Measure for Measure, a transfer from Stratford set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, feels distinctly slack. The backdrop is...

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Herbie Hancock, Barbican EFG London Jazz Festival review – the musical chameleon is still searching at 79

When it comes to the true jazz legends capable of filling concert halls with faithful fans, whom jazz festival programmers can put on as headliners, the choice is dwindling. Herbie Hancock is one and he does; his Barbican concert is one of the big...

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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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The Taming of the Shrew, Barbican review - different but still problematic

This is one play by Shakespeare ripe for tinkering. It's well nigh impossible now to take it at face value and still find romance and fun in the bullying: the physical and psychological abuse as a supposedly problematic wife is "tamed" into...

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Der Freischütz, Barbican review - Gothic chills rooted in flesh and earth

It’s hard to believe that in 1824 there were no fewer than six productions of Weber’s Der Freischütz in London alone. Since then this colourful piece of German Romanticism hasn’t fared nearly so well, disappearing from the UK’s opera houses not just...

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Andsnes, Oslo Philharmonic, Petrenko, Barbican review – polish and passion

The Oslo Philharmonic finished its centenary tour of Europe at the Barbican last night with ample proof that it consistently delivers one of the continent’s most well-rounded, and richly satisfying, orchestral sounds. The Norwegians’ modern history...

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