tue 07/02/2023

Finland

Batiashvili, Philharmonia, Shani, RFH review - Nordic mystery, Alpine tragedy

Sibelius and Mahler so often figure as the irreconcilable chalk and cheese of turn-of-the-century orchestral writing that it can be a salutary experience to hear them together on one bill.For sure, the Finn – whose Violin Concerto Lisa Batiashvili...

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Total Immersion: Sibelius the Storyteller, Barbican review - a feast of sagas and psychic masterpieces

If there’s a dud or a dullard among Sibelius’s 116 official opus numbers, I haven’t heard it. Yet catching even many of the outright masterpieces live in concert isn’t easy; the brevity that can show us a world in under 10 minutes makes some...

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Girl Picture review - Finnish coming-of-age drama offers nothing new

What is it with pushy Finnish mums and their acrobatic teenage daughters? Just weeks after the release of the Gothic fantasy Hatching, which focused on a gymnast having a Cronenbergian breakdown under pressure from her influencer mother, comes...

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Master Cheng review - slight but soothing Finnish-Chinese romance

There’s a long tradition of foodie romances proving art-house cinema hits – think of Babette’s Feast, Tampopo, and Chocolat. Sadly, it’s unlikely that Master Cheng, a gentle and very slow Finnish-Chinese coproduction about a chef from Shanghai...

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Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review - the really big orchestra is back for cosmic Strauss

Two suns, two moons, two Philharmonia leaders sharing a front desk, two aspirational giants among Richard Strauss's symphonic poems bringing the number of players, in the second half, to 134. Who’d have thought we’d be witnessing such phenomena when...

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Tove review - tasteful portrait of the Moomins creator

Even for this reviewer, who was brought up on Tove Jansson’s quirky children’s books (and is the owner of some 50 different Moomin coffee cups), it’s a stretch to recommend dropping everything to go and see Tove in the cinema. There’s nothing wrong...

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Albums of the Year 2020: Joensuu 1685 - ÖB

This breathtakingly lovely album opens with the aptly titled “Hey My Friend (We’re Here Again)”. Before the October 2020 release of ÖB and its related singles, the last record Finland’s Joensuu 1685 issued was a 12-inch on a Norwegian label which...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Vaughan Williams, Sandbox Percussion

 Mahler: Symphony No. 4 Turku Philharmonic Orchestra/Leif Segerstam, with Essi Luttinen (mezzo-soprano) (Alba)Leif Segerstam can be a maddeningly inconsistent conductor, a musician whose recordings can frustrate as much as they inspire. He’s...

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Classical music/Opera direct to home 17 - festive inventions

As the Wigmore Hall goes dark again for the summer after a stupendous series of June weekday recitals - you can still catch them all on film at the Wigmore's website, or on BBC Radio 3, and Boyd Tonkin's review of two concerts will appear here on...

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Album: Nightwish - Human II: Nature

When it comes to new releases by Scandi rockers Nightwish, it’s not unusual to hear the well-worn phrase “I like their early stuff…” – usually referring to the mythical times when the band were with their first singer Tarja Turunen. Indeed,...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Carlos Cipa, Fozié Majd, Iiro Rantala, Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour

 Iiro Rantala: My Finnish Calendar (ACT)Iiro Rantala’s little commentaries for each of these 12 short pieces are almost worth the CD price alone, offering an astute guide to the typical Finnish psyche alongside handy references to weather and...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bartók, Howells, Third Coast Percussion

 Bartók: The Wooden Prince, Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Susanna Mälkki (BIS)Bartók's The Wooden Prince is a one-off in the composer's output, an evocative, expansive ballet score that will surprise anyone...

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