wed 23/09/2020

Germany

Alban Gerhardt, Markus Becker, Wigmore Hall review - long shadows and rich sounds

It wouldn’t be true to say I’d forgotten what a solo cello in a fine concert hall sounds like; revelation of an admittedly sparse year will undoubtedly remain Sumera’s Cello Concerto played by young Estonian Theodor Sink at the Pärnu Music Festival...

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Album: Conrad Schnitzler & Frank Bretschneider - Con-Struct

When does the avant-garde become folk? Both of the participants in this album have certainly been on the very cutting edge of sound-making, on multiple occasions. Conrad Schnitzler was a student of radical artist Joseph Beuys and leading light in...

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'Artists' online rivalry feels stronger': pianist Joseph Moog on the difficulties of performing in lockdown

It can be found in any contract. Both artists, as well as promoters, are aware of it, but it used to be an exception so rare that only a few have ever experienced it: the clause of "force majeure". Now it is sadly commonplace in the world of the...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Hans-Joachim Roedelius - Tape Archive Essence 1973-1978

Even though nothing on Tape Archive Essence 1973–1978 was released at the time it was recorded, every track evokes material which was issued. Any fan of the German legends Cluster and Harmonia needs this album gathering extracts from tapes key...

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Classical Music/Opera direct to home 8 - from troubled royal rituals to a lone cellist

Inventiveness waxes ever stronger, it seems, in quarantine, as do the number of faces and instrumental sounds gathered together at any one time. As the branches diversify, embracing pre-filmed concert and opera, solo and multiple livestreams from...

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St John Passion, Bachfest Leipzig livestream review - pocket quarantine gospel

Bach, being The Greatest, can take any amount of adaptation. I'm especially addicted, for instance, to CDs on which the Japanese percussionist Kuniko plays cello suites and violin sonatas on the marimba. So it was going to be fascinating to hear a...

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Return to Belsen, ITV review - Jonathan Dimbleby retraces his father's journey to a nightmare world

When the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany was liberated by the British 11th Armoured Division on 15 April 1945, the BBC’s reporter Richard Dimbleby was there to record the occasion. It was Dimbleby’s report for BBC...

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System Crasher review – a compelling portrait of childhood violence and pain

Benni, the central character in German writer-director Nora Fingscheidt's haunting new film, has a life of tragedy and violence. She’s the product of a dysfunctional family and an abusive childhood that has left her rage-ridden and incapable of...

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Aimard, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Roth, RFH review - Beethoven as avant-gardist

In Beethoven anniversary year, there are three ways to enhance our ongoing concert dialogues with the composer beyond the bog-standard overture-concerto-symphony format: complete cycles of the quartets, symphonies and sonatas, preferably without old...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Magnard, Skempton

 Brahms: The Orchestral Music Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Kurt Masur (Decca Eloquence)Conductor Kurt Masur's role in Germany’s reunification has tended to obscure his musical strengths. I'd previously dismissed him as a safe, reliable pair...

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Belsen: Our Story, BBC Two review - inside the unfathomable horror of the Holocaust

The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz reminds us once again of the unfathomable horror of the Holocaust. The revival of anti-semitism in our own country and elsewhere is why it’s worth telling these terrible stories again and again....

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Clemens Meyer: Dark Satellites review - eccentric orbits

In Clemens Meyer’s new collection of short stories Dark Satellites (translated from German by Kate Derbyshire), the lonely frequently enter into each other’s orbit. Their loneliness is intensified by every rotation they make of one another. These...

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