thu 13/12/2018

Elgar

Our Classical Century, BBC Four review - enthusiasm and delight

Jerusalem! This fact-studded story of 20th century British music told us that the nation's unofficial national anthem, Hubert Parry’s setting of William Blake’s poem, originated in 1916 as a commission from the “Fight for Right” movement. Officials...

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Fialkowska, BBCSO, Nesterowicz, Barbican review – a cliche-free night in Poland

National feeling – in music, as anywhere else – depends on choice, not blood. This BBC Symphony Orchestra concert at the Barbican to mark the centenary of Poland’s rebirth as a nation never felt remotely like a feast of aural jingoism. In fact, its...

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Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – pictorial, dramatic power

Sir Mark Elder’s first concert in the Hallé Thursday series for 2018-19 was on clearly mapped Hallé territory – Richard Strauss and Elgar. They have a reputation, and a tradition, of playing these composers’ music very well. They’ve already recorded...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - religion, passion and Nordic fakery

Not to be outdone by the Proms, the 2018 Three Choirs Festival in Hereford burst into action on Saturday with a major choral work, the Mass in D, by music’s most famous suffragette, the majestic figure of Dame Ethel Smyth. Dame Ethel embodies...

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Anthony Marwood and Friends, Peasmarsh Festival - elegies in a country church

A magnificent riven oak with gnarly branches stands in the secluded graveyard of SS Peter and Paul's Church Peasmarsh, near Rye. Transport it in your mind to Flexham Park in a very different part of Sussex, imagine it struck by lightning and it...

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Brantelid, LPO, Petrenko, RFH review - orchestral excesses redeemed by graceful Elgar

The London Philharmonic, conductor Vasily Petrenko and cellist Andreas Brantelid are just back from a tour of China, so they’ve had plenty of time to get to know each other. That affinity is apparent in the ease with which Petrenko (pictured below...

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Frang, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - an Elgar tradition renewed

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla has such a rapport with her Birmingham public that she can silence a capacity crowd - 2000-plus audience members, spilling over into Symphony Hall’s choir stalls – with the tiniest of gestures. Into that silence she neatly...

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Jacqueline du Pré: A Gift Beyond Words, BBC Four review - ode to joyful cellist

Hyperbole be damned. The most iconic English classical recording was made on 19 August 1965 in Kingsway Hall, London. Like Maria Callas singing Tosca, Jacqueline du Pré simply was the Elgar Cello Concerto once the LP hit the shops in time for...

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Last Night of the Proms review: Stemme, BBCSO, Oramo - international array, abundant blue and gold

The Last Night of the Proms is always a beautifully choreographed event, and this year’s was no exception. The format changes little, but each year a new selection of works is chosen to fill the slots. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, always the backbone...

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Prom 51 review: Perianes, BBCSO, Oramo - brightly coloured musical postcards

Six weeks in and we’ve got to that sweet spot in the Proms season where thematic threads start to knit together, sequences begin to fill out, cycles to finish – when you hear not just the concert in front of you but the echoes of those already past...

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Prom 13 review: Rana, BBCSO, Davis – Malcolm Sargent tribute lacks punch

Ten days ago I reviewed the First Night of the 2017 Proms. Last night I was back at the Royal Albert Hall to hear the First Night of the 1966 Proms. This time-capsule experience was courtesy of a re-enactment of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s 500th Prom, in...

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Kuusisto, London Chamber Orchestra, Ashkenazy, Cadogan Hall

Tears were likely to flow freely on this most beautiful and terrible of June evenings, especially given a programme – dedicated by Vladimir Ashkenazy to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire – already prone to the elegiac. It could hardly...

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