sun 08/12/2019

Norway

Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945. The side of a "Grimes bus" today would probably proclaim over...

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Shadows, Coronet Theatre review - talking heads in the void

In a flowering branch of London theatre, Norway comes to Notting Hill with what's becoming revelatory regularity, thanks to the cultural support of that admirable country. Two visionary-searing Ibsen productions are now joined by an off-piste piece...

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Hubro 10th-Anniversary Concert, The Spice of Life review – boundary pushing Norwegian label marks its birthday

A fiddle projects upwards from between Erlend Apneseth’s knees. Seated, he holds another in his right hand facing-off the instruments against each other. He’s plucking both, the pizzicato pitter-patter suggesting water drops on a bell or a koto. On...

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Andsnes, Oslo Philharmonic, Petrenko, Barbican review – polish and passion

The Oslo Philharmonic finished its centenary tour of Europe at the Barbican last night with ample proof that it consistently delivers one of the continent’s most well-rounded, and richly satisfying, orchestral sounds. The Norwegians’ modern history...

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Phoenix review - Norwegian family tragedy with an autobiographical slant

“You’re so meticulous,” says Astrid (Maria Bonnevie) to her teenage daughter Jill (impressive newcomer Yvla Bjørkaas Thedin) as they create a batik artwork together at the kitchen table. Little son Bo (Casper Falck-Løvås) looks on as he munches a...

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CD: Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love

On a first pass, The Practice of Love seems to be an electropop album in thrall to trance music’s tropes: the synth wash, repeated musical phrases, a whooshy programmed percussive pulse, an otherworldly atmosphere. But the lyrics invite further...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Christophersen, Mr McFall's Chamber

 Bach: Keyboard Music Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) (Lawo Classics)There's so much to love about this Bach keyboard disc: namely attractive artwork, glowing sound and an intelligent programme clearly chosen by the artist. And there's the...

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CD: Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity - To Whom Buys a Record

To Whom Buys a Record roams through 12 crisply recorded pieces confirming that jazz which isn’t shy of acknowledging its heritage can still have an edge. Though structured and tight, each composition is defined by an attack positing this as an...

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theartsdesk in Oslo: Øya Festival 2019 review

The timing seemed odd. Sigrid is internationally successful. She’s Norway’s highest-profile musical ambassador since a-ha. Yet instead of headlining at 2019’s Øya Festival, she hits the stage at 6.45. Has she been demoted in favour of Tame Impala,...

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Blu-ray: Lords of Chaos

“All this evil and dark crap was supposed to be fun,” complains exasperated Norwegian black metal overlord Euronymous, played by Rory Culkin, as his world spirals out of control in a cataclysm of murder, suicide and church burnings. The true events...

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theartsdesk in Svalbard: cultural excellence at the top of the world

You should not die or be born on Svalbard, 1,985 kilometres above Norway's northernmost coast, and at 18 you work or leave for the mainland. Hunting is over, mining nearly so. Tourism, carefully managed, and Arctic research are the future; the...

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theartsdesk in Bergen: Gothic shocks and Romantic treats

Ole Bull sounds like some legendary gun-slinging hero of the Wild West. A legend he definitely was, and he spent long enough in the US to found a migrant community in Pennsylvania. But the Norwegian virtuoso (1810-1880) made his name not with a...

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