sat 24/08/2019

Britten

theartsdesk at Incontri in Terra di Siena: galloping concertos and Stravinsky by starlight

July in Tuscany and the heat is intense. Oak-forested hills offer tempting shade; pale dust flies from the roads; in the houses curtains are drawn against the ferocious sun and around irrigated gardens the mosquitos are growing plump. If you love...

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Chetham's Symphony Orchestra, Chetham's Chorus, Threlfall, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester - a thrilling triumph

As end-of-term concerts go, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is a biggie. In fact it’s hard to imagine any place of secondary education where they would even contemplate it.But for Chetham’s School of Music, the "Symphony of a Thousand" was a doable task,...

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The Turn of the Screw, Garsington Opera review - superb music drama on an open stage

The famous ambiguity of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw is whether the ghosts that take possession of the two children are real or merely figments of the young Governess’s imagination. Britten’s opera resolves this unequivocally in favour of...

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Noye's Fludde, ENO/Theatre Royal Stratford East review - two-dimensional music theatre

Benjamin Britten's musical mystery tour is still bringing young communities together to work with professionals at the highest level 61 years on from its premiere in a Suffolk church, and Lyndsey Turner's sweet production at Stratford must have been...

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London Mozart Players, Davan Wetton, St Giles Cripplegate - rousing Shakespearean revel

The festival Summer Music in City Churches is in only its second year, filling a gap left by the demise of the long-running City of London Festival. This year’s festival had the theme of Words and Music and offered an enticing programme of recitals...

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Roger Wright on Oliver Knussen: ‘his challenge to us all to remain curious lives on’

The composition course founded more than 25 years ago at Snape by composers Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews is in full swing. The scene is the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings on the Suffolk coast. Like Colin, Olly's connections to Aldeburgh and...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Nevill Holt Opera review - sprinkled with musical fairy-dust

“For I have found Demetrius like a jewel. Mine own, and not mine own.” Mine own and not mine own. This idea of transfiguration, of things familiar but somehow altered – is the spark that animates both Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and...

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Billy Budd, Royal Opera review - Britten's drama of good and evil too much at sea

On one level, it's about Biblically informed good and evil at sea, in both the literal and the metaphorical sense. On another, the love that dared not speak its name when Britten and E M Forster adapted Hermann Melville's novella is either repressed...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Guildhall School review - earthy, energetic Britten

It speaks vivid volumes for the superb health of our music colleges that the Guildhall School tackles every aspect of Britten's long and layered Shakespeare adaptation with total confidence. On Friday night, there wasn't a weak expressive link...

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Murrihy, Britten Sinfonia, Elder, Barbican review – a country feast

As the January chill began to bite around the Barbican, Sir Mark Elder and the Britten Sinfonia summoned memories of spring and summer – but of sunny seasons overshadowed by the electric crackle of storms. On the face of it, they offered us a...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas, part 2

 Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain Apollo’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrell (Avie)Subtitled "an Irish-Appalachian celebration", this disc follows the Scottish and Irish immigrants who pitched up in rural Virginia in the 19th century, fleeing unemployment...

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War Requiem, English National Opera review - a striking spectacle, but oddly unmoving

We’re not good at lack these days. Just look at the concert hall, where increasingly you turn up to find not just an orchestra and soloists but a giant screen. Videos, projections, live speakers, "virtual choirs"; if there’s so much as a chink of an...

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