wed 23/10/2019

BBCSO

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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Prom 43: Haefliger, BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo review – the frisson of the new

Time was, not long ago, when the very word “premiere” was enough to ensure a sizeable smattering of red plush holes in the Royal Albert Hall audience. It seemed people did not want to risk attending new works for fear they would sound ghastly. Any...

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Prom 25: Gabetta, BBCSO, Stasevska review – stunning Weinberg debut

This concert from the BBC Symphony Orchestra marked the first performance of composer Mieczysław Weinberg at the Proms, an important milestone in the recent surge of interest of his music. When Weinberg, a Russian composer of Jewish descent and...

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Prom 18: Andsnes, Mahnke, Skelton, BBCSO, Gardner review – all passion spent

It’s a curiosity of music that a performance can occasionally be better – more persuasive and impressive – than the work itself. Even Britten’s most devoted advocates would find it hard to rank the Piano Concerto among his masterpieces. In his...

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Prom 13: Des canyons aux étoiles..., BBCSO, Oramo review – cursory contemplations of earth and sky

Messiaen’s language of juxtaposition over development was always susceptible to the “greatest hits” phenomenon that began to suffuse his music with contented wonder during the 1970s. While younger colleagues were throwing toys out of the pram and...

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Cindy Sherman: #untitled, BBC Four review - portrait of an enigma

Cindy Sherman predicted the selfie, so goes the claim. From our current standpoint, it is all too easy to analyse her many hundreds of photographic self-portraits made since the late 1970s as cultural forebears of the digital medium. What this BBC...

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Prom 8, Faust, BBCSO, Eötvös review - terrific orchestral showcase

By happenstance, this Prom was fully topical, with Debussy’s languorous Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune fitting for one of the hottest days in London’s history, and the “Infernal Dance” from Stravinsky’s Firebird mirroring the infernal political...

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Prom 1, BBCSO, Canellakis review - space-age First Night

A new commission, a Romantic tone poem and a choral spectacular – standard fare for the First Night of the Proms. Traditionally, the First Night sets out the themes for the season ahead, but the rationale behind much of this programme was paper-thin...

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Pick of the BBC Proms 2019

It's been much the same trajectory over the past few years for many of us: look through the Proms prospectus, feel a bit disappointed that there isn't more of the rich and rare, be won round when it comes to the performances. After all, you're...

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8 Days: To the Moon and Back, BBC Two review - intimate peek at life in lunar capsule

The Apollo 11 mission remains the most celebrated journey humanity has ever made. It produced some of our most iconic images, as well as the greatest speech gaffe, and a documentary of epic scale could be made that focused solely on the influence it...

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Benedetti, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - Elgar challenges, Dvořák soothes

Among the greatest violin concertos in the repertoire, the Elgar is far too rarely performed. One of the reasons is its huge dramatic scale and almost hour-long duration – Sakari Oramo wisely programmed it here with Dvořák’s relatively modest...

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