mon 10/12/2018

Baroque

The English Concert, Bicket, Wigmore Hall review – small-scale Bach

It’s Christmas already at Wigmore Hall. Or advent at least – this concert of Bach Advent cantatas was presented by the English Concert without apology or qualification, despite it still being the middle of November. But it proved a welcome fillip...

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The Triumph of Time and Truth, Higginbottom, Kings Place review – time well spent, despite the words

You can always depend on Handel to turn verbal dross into musical gold. The chasm between lumbering doggerel and soaring sound can seldom have yawned wider, though, that in several numbers from the third, English version of The Triumph of Time and...

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Radamisto, English Touring Opera review - propulsive, lively Handel

Baroque repertoire doesn’t seem to register on most British opera company’s schedules these days, so it is good to see ETO devoting their autumn season to Handel, Purcell and Bach, with some additions from Carissimi and Gesualdo for good measure....

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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 2, Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review – high drama in 24 short acts

Bach specialists like to explain that the second book of preludes and fugues in The Well-Tempered Clavier, composed around 1740 and thus almost two decades after the first, draws on more of the fancy and daring “modern” music of its time than its...

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Dido and Aeneas, Academy of Ancient Music, Barbican review – prosthetic passions

 “War Horse has a lot to answer for,” grumbled, or joked, my neighbour as the white-draped and white-faced puppet of the Queen of Carthage lay crumpled on the floor at the close of Thomas Guthrie’s semi-staged production of Dido and Aeneas....

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'I wanted a juke box that plays nothing but flip-sides' - Jeremy Sams on The Enchanted Island

I have many files, in bulging boxes and dusty corners of my computer, of projects that, for whatever reason, never came to fruition. To be honest I’ve forgotten most of them. And I wrongly assumed that The Enchanted Island would be one of those...

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2018 - canaries in front of a Périgord altar

Brits are the folk you expect to encounter the most in the rural-England-on-steroids of the beautiful Dordogne. In my experience they outnumber the French, at least in high summer, not just as visitors and retired homeowners but also as artisans...

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theartsdesk in Orkney: St Magnus Festival 2018 - choral music to the fore

With – unusually – no visiting orchestra at this year’s St Magnus International Festival in far-flung Orkney (the fall-out from delayed funding confirmations, we’re assured), there was a danger that the annual midsummer event might have felt a...

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Partenope, Iford Arts review - a midsummer night's dream of a Handel comedy

Rejected by London’s Royal Academy of Music in 1726 on grounds of frivolity, Partenope is the ultimate Handelian rom-com – a comedy whose intriguing is carried out with a smile, a swagger and a sparkle in the eye. But what raised eyebrows in the...

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The Courtesan’s Gaze, Fieri Consort, Handel House review – historical female composers in context

From an early age, Barbara Strozzi would have entertained the guests of her father’s Venetian academy with songs, including her own works. A similarly intimate room at London’s Handel House museum provided a suitable setting for Strozzi’s work to be...

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Acis and Galatea, English National Opera, Lilian Baylis House review - Handel for the hashtag generation

If you go to ENO’s Acis and Galatea expecting a grassy knoll draped decoratively with a Watteau shepherdess or two then you may be disappointed. Launched in 2017, the company’s reliably punchy Studio Live strand (stripped-back, small-scale, off-site...

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Franco Fagioli on performing the Baroque: 'a challenge is to interpret beyond the musical notation'

I started singing when I was nine years old in my primary school choir. I sang plenty of solos there before moving on to another children’s choir; that was a formative experience for me. At this point, I was singing the soprano part and from here I...

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