fri 19/04/2019

contemporary classical

JACK Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – superlative Elliott Carter quartets

At Wigmore Hall the JACK Quartet presented the complete Elliott Carter string quartets in a single day – an astonishing feat given the scale and complexity of the music. One of Carter’s many achievements here is the self-sufficiency of each of his...

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Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem. Two practically new song cycles for soprano and quartet – Kate Whitley’s Charlotte...

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Robin Hood, The Opera Story, CLF Café review - folk hero re-imagined as Tory villain

What’s the one thing everyone knows about Robin Hood? That he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. So it was quite a brave decision to re-cast Robin as a rapacious Tory shires MP, doing his best to stop the poor becoming rich. At least, I...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Dvořák, Higginson, Zender

 Brahms: Symphony No 4, Dvořák: Symphony No 9 Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrůša (Tudor)Brahms became a close friend and mentor to Dvořák, the two men first meeting in 1877 after Brahms had helped the younger composer win a scholarship....

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Hardenberger, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new work trumpets a sun journey

The BBC Philharmonic and its chief guest conductor John Storgårds introduced their Manchester audience to two new things – possibly three – in this concert. One was a world premiere, and you can’t get much newer than that. The other big item was a...

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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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