wed 05/10/2022

Christmas

Messiah, Dunedin Consort, Butt, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh - period clarity infused with love

This time last year, the moment I knew things were really bad was when the Dunedin Consort cancelled Messiah. All performances since the summer of 2020 had been online films, but Dunedin cancelled even their online Messiah because it would involve...

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Album: Norah Jones - I Dream of Christmas

“I wanna hear the music play, I wanna dance and laugh and sway” sings Norah Jones on “Christmas Calling”, the opening track of this her first festive outing, “I wanna happy holiday for Christmas”. Doubtless when she recorded I Dream of Christmas,...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 68: Patrik Fitzgerald, Oasis, Kathryn Williams, R.E.M., Bess Atwell and a seasonal load more

As we ride towards the holiday break on our magic reindeer, it’s time for one last theartsdesk on Vinyl, a seasonal special that, if you scroll down, contains all the usual up-to-date music reviews but, before that, takes a look at Yuletide-themed...

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L’Enfance du Christ, Monteverdi Choir, ORR, Gardiner, St Martin-in-the-Fields review – clear-cut Christmas story

Time, place and performers gave this performance of Berlioz’s typically original “Sacred Trilogy” a special significance. Nothing in it is more striking, in choice of text and the music to illustrate it, than the scene where Hebrew refugees Mary,...

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Album: Kathryn Williams & Carol Ann Duffy - Midnight Chorus

Liverpudlian singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams has always had a literary bent. This doesn’t just manifest in overt ways, like writing a concept album about Sylvia Plath in 2015’s Hypoxia, but in perfectly potted narratives, microscopically...

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Classical CDs: Christmas 2021, Part 1

 Michael Praetorius: Es is ein Ros Dresdner Kammerchor/Hans-Christoph Rademann (Accentus)Oliver Geisler’s witty booklet note makes the case for Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) as “one of the best unknowns in the history of music.” Reading the...

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Album: Pistol Annies - Hell of a Holiday

“It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was sober, especially my spouse.” So runs the giggly spoken word opening line of “Harlan County Coal”, the third song on Hell of a Holiday by American country trio Pistol...

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Album: Various Artists - A Damaged Christmas Gift For You

Christmas albums can traditionally be slippery beasts with a whole host of quality control issues. This is not unlike the compilation albums that also make an appearance at this time of year, with one or maybe two previously unreleased tracks, which...

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MacMillan Christmas Oratorio, LPO, Elder, RFH review – a new star for the season

The shadow of the cross falls over James MacMillan’s manger. You may come for his work’s consoling, even transporting, beauty and mystery. It’s there in abundance in his new Christmas Oratorio. Yet what may grip hardest are his passages of crashing...

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A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic review - not quite a festive-season cracker

Four years and a Broadway run on from its Old Vic debut, director Matthew Warchus and writer,Jack Thorne are still throwing everything they can at one of the most familiar stories, and characters, in English literature. That may be to address the...

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Gabrieli Consort, McCreesh online review - joyous Bach Christmas Oratorio

After the main portion of the Voces8 Live from London Christmas festival revelled in the variety of its groups and repertoire, the final stretch allowed a single group to explore a single masterpiece by a great composer. And although it offered...

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Roald and Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse, Sky One review – twinkly tale for troubled times

They say "never meet your heroes". That may be true, but it forms the premise of a new TV drama concerning two of the world’s most famous children’s authors – Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl – who encounter each other at opposite ends of their life....

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