fri 19/10/2018

Czech

Olga Tokarczuk: Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead review - on vengeful nature

In a small town on the Polish-Czech border where the mobile signal wanders between countries’ operators and only three inhabitants stick it out through the winter, animals are wreaking a terrible revenge. The bodies of murdered men, united in their...

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P.E.Caquet: The Bell of Treason review - the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia

It was 80 years ago next month that Neville Chamberlain returned with the good news of peace in our time. The Munich Agreement was greeted as a triumph for the appeasers. The price Britain had to pay was a minor stain on its conscience: the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Black Peter

Fifty years after the 1968 Soviet invasion that so brutally interrupted it, the Czech New Wave really is a gift that keeps on giving. It still astounds that such a sheer variety of cinema was created in so short a time – really just six or seven...

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Edinburgh Festival 2018 review: Zimerman, LSO, Rattle - fizzing chemistry

It was Simon Rattle’s first visit to the Edinburgh International Festival for – well, really quite a few years. And the first of his two concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra drew, perhaps predictably, a capacity crowd in the Usher Hall, for...

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Blu-ray: Intimate Lighting

From the way that Czech director Ivan Passer remembers the genesis of this, his 1965 debut feature, in the 2006 interview that comes with this Second Run rerelease, Intimate Lighting happened practically by accident. A scriptwriter friend had put an...

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Milos Forman: 'The less you know about yourself, the happier you are'

The second thing I noticed about Miloš Forman, who has died at the age of 86, was the spectacular imperfection of his English. All those decades in America could not muffle his foghorn of a Bohemian accent, nor assimilate the refugees from Czech...

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From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera review - Janáček's prison oddity prompts hot tears

A political prisoner is brutally initiated into the life of a state penitentiary, and leaves it little over 90 minutes later. Four inmates reveal their brutal past histories with elliptical strangeness - each would need an episode of something like...

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Capuçon, Philharmonia, Järvi, RFH review - Dvořák in blazing focus

You can't have too much Dvořák in a single evening, at least not when the works in question operate at the highest level of volatility and melodic abundance like last night's overture, concerto and symphony. "Febrile centrists" might look like an...

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Schubert Ensemble, Kings Place review - spot-on introductions, dazzling performances

To demonstrate what makes chamber masterpieces tick and then to play them, brilliantly, is a sequence which ought to happen more often. Perhaps too many musicians think their eloquence is confined to their instruments. Not violinist Simon Blendis...

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Osud/Trouble in Tahiti, Opera North - swings and roundabouts in a surprising double-bill

It was a topsy-turvy evening. Sometimes the things you expect to turn out best disappoint, while in this case the relatively small beer yielded a true "Little Great" of a production and the best singing in Opera North's latest double bill (subject...

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Prom 70 review: Denk, BBCSO, Canellakis - high, lucid and bright

It can’t be too long before “women” no longer needs to prefix “conductors” to define what’s still a rare breed. Yet seven at the Proms is certainly an improvement, with many more coming up through the ranks. And American Karina Canellakis turned out...

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Proms at... & Prom 56 reviews: Multi-Story Orchestra / BBCSO, Hrůša - the best of all possible worlds

There we had it, in one extraordinary Proms day: the brave new world of contemporary classical music for all in a repurposed Peckham car park followed by the consolidation of the old order in all-Czech programming of remarkable originality and...

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