sun 17/02/2019

contemporary classical

Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kings Place review - a kaleidoscope of vibrant sound and vision

Julia Wolfe, Caroline Shaw, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir: three names on quite a list I reeled off earlier this week when someone asked me why the compositions of Rebecca Saunders, in the news for winning the €250,000 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, make me...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mia Brentano, Wim Henderickx, Saint-Saëns

 Mia Brentano’s Hidden Sea – 20 Songs for 2 Pianos Benyamin Nuss & Max Nyberg (pianos) (Mons Records)Hiddensee is a car-free German island in the Baltic Sea. It's mentioned as one possible inspiration for the pieces on this beguiling disc;...

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Best of 2018: Classical CDs

Record shops may be thin on the ground, but CDs are still very much with us. No sensible soul would ever rate listening to a recording over experiencing music live. But if, like me, time, money and geography limit one’s opportunities to nip out to...

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theartsdesk in Warsaw - Penderecki at 85

Krzysztof Penderecki is the elder statesman of Polish music, and celebrations for his 85th birthday in Warsaw were suitably grand. Penderecki has been setting the agenda for contemporary music, in Poland and beyond, since the 1950s. His early work...

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Juliana, Nova Music Opera, St John's Smith Square review - new version of a classic drama

Joseph Phibbs is not the first composer to make an opera out of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and it is not difficult to see the operatic appeal of this taut, passionate three-handed drama. But there are also hazards: my recollections of the play,...

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Lammermuir Festival 2018 review - a bigger buzz

There’s always been something of a buzz in the air at East Lothian’s Lammermuir Festival. It’s the feeling that it’s somehow a special privilege to discover its performances – whether they’re from international names or emerging artists, challenging...

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Edinburgh Festival 2018 review: Aimard, SCO, Pintscher - psychedelic visions

There were two immediate casualties at Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s high-energy account of Messiaen’s monumental Des canyons aux étoiles… with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival.First was one of the strings in the...

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Roger Scruton: Music as an Art review - how to listen?

Hegel, Kant, David Hume, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Leibniz are all adduced, referred to, and paraphrased, and that’s just for starters. Add Rameau, Schubert, Beethoven, Benjamin Britten and the contemporary composer David Matthews (who is also a...

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Proms 29 / 30, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Dausgaard review - Bach Brandenburgs and beyond

A complex Swedish product to unpack, this one. Someone in the BBC must have worked out that it could do with a detailed instruction manual to help people with the task: the programme booklet duly ran to a full 50 pages.There were two sets of...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Louis Couperin, Pärt, Bruce Levingston

 Louis Couperin: Dances from the Bauyn Manuscript Pavel Kolesnikov (Hyperion)We’ll get the entertaining trivia out of the way first, namely that the musical Couperin dynasty came from Chaumes-en-Brie. I’m struggling to think of another example...

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Prom 21, BBC Scottish SO, Volkov review - horncalls and mountainscapes

This concert was inspired by the huge scale of the Albert Hall. The three works all evoke spacious vistas, through their expansive textures, echo effects and horn calls. Mozart, Haas and Strauss made for a diverse programme though, the three works...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Sverre Indris Joner, John McLeod, Poulenc, Stravinsky

 Sverre Indris Joner: Con cierto toque de tango Henning Kraggerud (violin), Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Sverre Indris Joner, with Tango for 3 (Lawo Classics)Sverre Indris Joner is described in this disc’s notes as “the doyen of Latin American...

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