sat 23/02/2019

Barbican

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Ádám Fischer, Barbican review - ferocious Mahler 9 without inscape

Give me some air! Stop screaming at me! Those are not exclamations I'd have anticipated from the prospect of a Vienna Philharmonic Mahler Ninth Symphony, least of all under the purposeful control of Ádám Fischer. Less well known here than his...

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Joshua Redman Still Dreaming, Barbican review - world-class quartet

Joshua Redman's Still Dreaming Quartet is a project surrounded by an abundance of facts, context and backstories. Jazz folk really like that stuff. If fans can’t get enough of all the interconnections and the minutiae, the truth is that a concert...

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Trifonov, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - Russian style with French chic (and cheek)

The arc of Daniil Trifonov’s reputation has soared and then, to some ears, stalled in a familiar modern way. Russian Wunderkind pianist bags a sackful of competition trophies (Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky prizes; Gramophone Awards). Early recitals and...

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Grosvenor, Doric String Quartet, Milton Court review – a night to remember

Imagine for a moment that you are at, say, the Derby. It’s pretty good. But then in flies Pegasus, the mythical winged horse. What happens?We need to talk about these rare moments of almost inexplicable magic in concerts, because unless I’m...

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Schumann Series 3 & 4, LSO, Gardiner, Barbican review - upstanding brilliance

Schumann revitalized by John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra last year left us wanting more: namely two of the four symphonies (transcendently great, as it turns out from these revelatory performances). But those concerts also...

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The Good Person of Szechwan, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Barbican review - slick Russian Brecht

"In our country the capable man needs luck," belts out Shen Te, the Good Person of Szechwan in the most powerful song of Brecht's epic "parable play" of 1941. "Only if he has powerful backers can he prove his capacity." Never was that more true than...

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The Cherry Orchard, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Barbican review - stunning absurdist Chekhov

There is no doubt that this Cherry Orchard, whirled into town by Roman Abramovich from Moscow, is going to be divisive. If you, like the two elegant old gentlemen sat next to me on press night, have come to see the Pushkin Drama Theatre’s...

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Bach B minor Mass, BBCSO, Butt, Barbican review - large-scale losses and a few gains

Practitioners of musical authenticity and scholarly research, so guarded and protective of their territory in the early days, now like to spread the love around. So if an amateur choir of 100-plus like the BBC Symphony Chorus, celebrating its 90th...

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Imagining Ireland, Barbican review - celebrating the Irish in England

Last spring, Imagining Ireland took a fresh, shamrock-free look at contemporary Ireland’s cultural scene, with spoken word and alt-folk mixing with indie rock and jazz, classical, gospel and rap, with the line-up led by Bell X1’s Paul Noonan and...

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Damrau, BRSO, Jansons, Barbican review - broad and passionate Strauss

There is no doubting Diana Damrau’s star power. She is not a demonstrative performer, and her voice is small, but the sheer character of her tone, and the passion she invests, make every line special. She is not one to over-sentimentalise either, so...

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Ehnes, BBCSO, Ryan Wigglesworth, Barbican review - a concert of two very different halves

The big news on this programme was Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande. This early score, completed in 1903, is a sprawling Expressionist tone poem, making explicit all the passions in Maeterlinck’s play that Debussy only implies. The story plays out...

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Murrihy, Britten Sinfonia, Elder, Barbican review – a country feast

As the January chill began to bite around the Barbican, Sir Mark Elder and the Britten Sinfonia summoned memories of spring and summer – but of sunny seasons overshadowed by the electric crackle of storms. On the face of it, they offered us a...

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