fri 19/04/2019

BBCSO

Total Immersion: Ligeti, Barbican review - exploring a 20th-century master mind

A day devoted entirely to the life and work of György Ligeti celebrated this composer’s remarkable oeuvre through a sequence programme of film, talks and concerts of his music. The final two of these performances were a short recital of his choral...

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Kulman, Skelton, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - romantic sign-offs

Time was when the BBC Symphony Orchestra played austerely wholesome programmes of modern and romantic classics to third-full houses. Now on a more varied diet – such as the collaboration with Neil Gaiman and Alwyn's Miss Julie in concert announced...

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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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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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L'enfance du Christ, BBCSO, Gardner, Barbican review - Berlioz's kindest wonder

Like the fountains that sprang up in the desert during the Holy Family's flight into Egypt - according to a charming episode in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew - Berlioz's new-found creativity in the 1850s flowed from a couple of bars of organ music he...

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Kolesnikov, BBCSO, Brabbins, Barbican review - rethought masterpiece, stolid rarity

Forget the latest International Tchaikovsky Competition winner (I almost have; only a dim memory of Dmitry Masleev's playing the notes in the obligatory First Piano Concerto, and nothing else, remains from an Istanbul performance). Had Pavel...

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Fialkowska, BBCSO, Nesterowicz, Barbican review – a cliche-free night in Poland

National feeling – in music, as anywhere else – depends on choice, not blood. This BBC Symphony Orchestra concert at the Barbican to mark the centenary of Poland’s rebirth as a nation never felt remotely like a feast of aural jingoism. In fact, its...

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Fröst, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - blood, sweat and sweetness

Single adjectives by way of description always sell masterpieces short, and especially the ambiguous symphonies forged in blood, sweat and tears during the Stalin years. The Barbican's advance blurb hit one aspect of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony...

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Last Night of the Proms, Finley, Gillam, BBCSO, Davis review - a fine send-off without send-up

Outside the Royal Albert Hall blue-bereted devotees were handing out free EU flags. A great many people accepted them, while some with the Union Jack looked on askance and muttered. But inside, all differences were firmly put aside: every flag under...

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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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Prom 33, Schultz, Reuter, BBCSO, Farnes review - powerful Brahms Requiem

The heart of Prom 33 was Brahms’s massive German Requiem, a piece that eschews Christian dogma and Day-of-Judgment terrors for a humanism focusing on consolation of the bereaved. It feels very much like a requiem for our times as much as the...

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Proms 25 / 26 review - Russian masters, noodling guitar, late-night perfection

Sometimes the more modestly scaled Proms work best in the Albert Hall. Not that there was anything but vast ambition and electrifying communication from soprano Anna Prohaska and the 17-piece Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini, making that...

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