sun 22/04/2018

contemporary classical

Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – cosmic perspectives

Space is big – that seems to be the message of Unsuk Chin’s new oratorio Le Chant des Enfants des Étoiles. The work sets texts, ranging from the Baroque to the present day, concerned with space and scale. The work’s cosmic aspirations are reflected...

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Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review – music for the ages

Frederic Rzewski marked his 80th birthday with a visit to the Wigmore Hall, for the premiere of his aptly titled Ages. The pianist Igor Levit is an ardent champion of Rzewski’s music and was the prime mover behind the commission (though it was...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Collins, Gershwin, In Echo

David Collins: Violin Sonatas Duo Ardoré (Sheva)There's little biographical information to be found online about British composer David Collins, other than that he was born in 1953, studied at the RNCM and has only recently started to compose full...

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Dickson, SCO, Swensen, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh review - world premiere of a bold new work

It’s as intricate as it is concise. The depth to the architecture of James MacMillan’s Saxophone Concerto – which was given its world premiere this week by saxophonist Amy Dickson and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – is quite astounding, and all the...

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Chineke!, Parnther, QEH review - a joyful re-building of the house

Even after the venue’s 30-month refurbishment, you still would not choose the sprawling foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall as the prime site for a pre-concert speech. By the time, last night, that Heritage Lottery Fund chair Sir Peter Luff got to say...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Lūcija Garūta, Dag Wirén, Ruby Hughes

 Lūcija Garūta: Music for Piano Reinis Zariņš (piano), Liepāja Symphony Orchestra/Atvars Lakstīgala (LMIC/SKANI)The Latvian composer Lūcija Garūta (1902-1977) reached maturity in the early days of Latvian independence, a supremely talented...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Prokofiev, Philip Sawyers, Andrew Matthews-Owen

 Visions of Prokofiev Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Yannick Nézet-Seguin (DG)Buried beneath the soft focus photos and waffly booklet are very decent performances of Prokofiev’s two Violin Concertos. Lisa Batiashvili...

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Wake, Birmingham Opera Company review - power to the people

“Would you like a veil?” asked a steward, offering a length of black gauze, and when you’re at a production by Birmingham Opera Company it’s usually wisest to say yes. You get used to it - the frantic Google-mapping to locate the venue; the hike...

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Ruthless Jabiru, King's College London / Arditti Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - delicate, dedicated modernism

Ruthless Jabiru is an all-Australian chamber orchestra based in London. It is the brainchild of conductor Kelly Lovelady, who in recent years has geared the ensemble towards political and environmental concerns. Previous projects have highlighted...

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Tones, Drones and Arpeggios: The Magic of Minimalism, BBC Four - brilliant appraisal

By most measures, minimalism is the most successful movement in 20th-century music, certainly orchestral music. The story of its inexorable spread from a tiny offshoot of the 1950s experimentation of John Cage, which was defined and promoted by two...

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Dead Man Walking, Barbican review - timely and devastating meditation on human violence and forgiveness

You have to wonder why it has taken this long. Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking premiered in San Francisco back in 2000 and has since been performed over 300 times across the world, staged everywhere from Cape Town to Copenhagen. Only now, 18 years on...

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Explore Ensemble, EXAUDI, St John's Smith Square review - making sense of Nono

This was an evening of silence and shadow, a chill, moonlit meditation, where each sound demanded forensic attention. Enter the world of Luigi Nono and his admirers. As his compatriot Sciarrino wrote of Lo Spazio Inverso, which opened the...

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