wed 27/10/2021

Beethoven

Classical CDs: Rediscovered orchestral jazz, natural trumpets and non-seasonal chamber music

 Leo Sowerby: Paul Whiteman Commissions & other early works Andy Baker Orchestra, Avalon String Quartet (Cedille)Chicago’s Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) is remembered chiefly as a prolific composer of sacred scores, a Pullitzer-Prize winning...

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First Person: director Frederic Wake-Walker on Glyndebourne's new 'Fidelio'

2016Dear Diary, I’ve just had a meeting with Glyndebourne about directing a new production of Fidelio. I realise it’s one of the hardest operas in the repertoire to direct but I’m so swept up in Beethoven’s vision, the power of the music and the...

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Geniušas, SCO, Emelyanychev, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - glorious return to a much-missed venue

This concert almost had me in tears before a single note was played because it marked (joy!) the first classical concert to take place in the Usher Hall since it was shut in March 2020. She has been closed for eighteen long months, but she hasn’t...

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Leeds International Piano Competition Finals, Leeds Town Hall review - a hi-tech, low carbon musical celebration

It’s easy to forget that what you see in a competition final isn’t always the full story, the jury members’ votes in this case based on what had gone on in the earlier rounds. The 20th Leeds International Piano Competition began its final stages in...

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Crowe, BBCSSO, Volkov, BBC Proms review - shining light on history and heritage

Minds in Flux is the largest of this season’s Proms commissions, and last night it afforded a rare chance for UK audiences to hear work of George Lewis outside the often insular new-music and avant-garde improvisation circuits. As a trombonist-...

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Benedetti, National Youth Orchestra, Heyward, BBC Proms review – stirring sounds of change

In a normal year, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain descends mob-handed on the Royal Albert Hall for a Prom that complements the sheer quality of the young musicians’ work with joyful, raucous, roof-raising quantity. I recall a...

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Brauss, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, BBC Proms review - surprises and miracles in store

Two nights after the Scottish Chamber Orchestra had brought the first great E flat major symphony to the Proms – Mozart’s 39th – a serendipitous change of programme on Tuesday gave us the second: Haydn’s “Drumroll”. An equally serendipitous change...

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Carducci Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - complexity and depth

This programme was a bit of a calling card from the Carducci Quartet. They have previously recorded all three works, and the three composers, Haydn, Shostakovich, Beethoven, clearly play to their strengths. Add to that a modest running time, the...

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Bronfman, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – celebration around C major

One of the many things we’ll miss when Esa-Pekka Salonen moves on from his 13 years as the Philharmonia’s principal conductor will be his programming. For this first of his farewell concerts, he’s not only chosen what he loves but made sure it all...

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First Person: Boris Giltburg on lockdown interruptions to filming Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas

About a year ago, in a distant pre-pandemic world, I remember walking down Edgware Road one cold London evening. I was heading towards Jaques Samuel Pianos, my favourite haunt in London, to meet filmmaker Stewart French from Fly On The Wall. There,...

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Classical CDs: Dramatic symphonies, medieval bagpipes and a solo bassoon

 Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, Piano Concerto No. 4, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Lahav Shani (piano and conductor) (Warner Classics)Poor Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year saw most of the projected live events cancelled, but good new...

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Levit, Berlin Philharmoniker, Paavo Järvi, Digital Concert Hall review - optimal light and dark

It seems right that (arguably) the greatest orchestra in the world has (unarguably) the best livestreaming and archive service. Thanks to a vital musicians’ Covid testing set-up, the Berlin Philharmoniker is even more supreme online now that it can...

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