tue 07/04/2020

BBCSO

Skelton, Rice, BBCSO, Gardner, Barbican review – romanticism’s last stand

Only a modest audience turned up for this BBC Symphony Orchestra concert, though it was unclear if this was caused by the threat of airborne disease or the inclusion of Schoenberg on the programme. The result was a paradoxical intimacy, with the...

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Missa solemnis, BBCSO, Runnicles, Barbican review - affirmation in the face of adversity

The tough, knotty writing of the Missa solemnis – its “unrelenting integrity”, Donald Runnicles said in a pre-concert interview – was addressed unflinchingly last night by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. They have a distinguished history with...

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Cargill, BBCSO, Saraste, Barbican review - less is more in Shostakovich

Jukka-Pekka Saraste doesn’t visit London much these days. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and there were rumours that he was in line for the top job. That didn’t happen, and his career soon took him elsewhere – which...

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prisoner of the state, Barbican review - beauty, but where is the drama?

You can see the temptation. With three different versions and four different overtures to choose from, as well as all that spoken dialogue to cut, substitute or omit, Beethoven’s Fidelio has always been a Choose Your Own Adventure sort of opera – a...

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Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch, BBCSO, Bychkov, Barbican review – fire and brimstone on a flat canvas

“Hieronymus!” bellowed David Wilson Johnson from the Barbican Hall’s circle on Saturday evening. “Hieronymus Bosch!” Commissioned by Dutch radio for a big piece to mark 500 years since the passing of the Dutch painter in 1516, the German composer...

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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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The Man Who Saw Too Much, BBC One review – death camp in the clouds

Boris Pahor is the oldest known survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. In this program, the 106-year-old recounts his experiences as a political refugee and prisoner to the Nazis during their rule in his native Slovenia. As a study of one...

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Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, Episode Three, BBC Four review – more than a bit of Botticelli

Once again the whodunit becomes the whoforgedit in the newest installment of the Britain’s Lost Masterpieces series. Host and art historian Bendor Grosvenor introduces us to what is one of the most beautiful he’s ever seen: a Madonna and Child...

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The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson, BBC Four review – the future we’ve left behind

John Simpson remains the BBC’s longest serving foreign correspondent. Here, he returns to the biggest moment of his career. This personalised retelling of the collapse of the Berlin wall encompasses fond remembrance, factual detail and the...

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Get Rich Or Try Dying: Music’s Mega Legacies, BBC Four review – inside the RIP business

Half a billion dollars is what the top five most lucrative estates of deceased musicians earned last year. The figure represents the cunning work of a few people to turn “legacy” into its own immortal industry. To watch a program on this theme is to...

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Last Night of the Proms, Barton, BBCSO, Oramo review – woke not broke

The BBC put social and ethnic diversity at the heart of this Last Night programme. The concert opened with a new work, by Daniel Kidane, called Woke, and the first half was dominated by the music of black and female composers. In the second half,...

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Prom 53: Connolly, Gregory, Tappan, BBCSO & Chorus, Davis review - citizens of the world unite

Let's be clear: this was a Prom of world-class works by English composers, not a conservative concert of English music. Politically speaking, Elgar was one of the few on the right, but how different inwardly, speaking through the poet Arthur O’...

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