wed 29/05/2024

OAE

Bach's Easter Oratorio, OAE, Whelan, QEH review - the joys of springtime

Waiting, and hoping, may prove just as intense an experience as the fulfilment of a wish – or of a fear. Bach knew that, and infused his Easter Week music with a sense of suspense and anticipation built into vocal and instrumental lines that build...

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St John Passion, Polyphony, OAE, Layton, St John's Smith Square review - defiant performance reveals Bach masterpiece anew

The turbulence and agitation of betrayal could be felt from the word go in this galvanising performance of the St John Passion, which administered a jolting urgency to Bach’s radical portrayal of the Easter story. The work will be 300 years old next...

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Prom 57, Bach Mass in B Minor, OAE, Butt review - passion and precision

A strong team of musical chefs can blend and spice Bach’s mighty Mass in B Minor in a variety of different ways, and still prepare a feast to savour. We don’t know exactly why Bach felt compelled to bundle his decades of genius into this late...

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Rangwanasha, OAE, Fischer, RFH review - Mahler reimagined

Mahler on modern instruments is ubiquitous these days, so historically informed performance is bound to be revealing. Here, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment brought transparency and focus to Mahler’s often complex textures in his Fourth...

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BBC Proms live online: Benedetti, OAE, Cohen review – double helpings of Baroque zest

In a year of absences and separations, here was another one we had to bear. Built around a programme of Baroque double concertos, last night’s Prom should have brought Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova together in a violin super-duo that...

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Prom 51: Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne review - smooth classic without depth

Can we go back to an older Glyndebourne-at-the-Proms vintage, where the chosen production was merely sketched out with variations suited to the venue, and performed in whatever evening dress might be appropriate? Certainly one wishes that director-...

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Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne Festival review – high jinks in the Grand Mozart Hotel

Die Zauberflöte rarely attracts the plain cooks of the operatic world. Mozart’s farewell opera chucks so many highly-spiced ingredients into its outlandish pot – pantomime and parable, burlesque and ritual – that many productions opt for one show-...

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Bach St John Passion, OAE, Rattle, RFH review – earnest devotions

We live in a secular age, or so we’re told. Yet we seem to need rituals, the age-old practice and province of religion, as much as ever. It is the achievement of Peter Sellars and Sir Simon Rattle to present one without the other in their concert...

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Schiff, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, RFH review – antique kit, modern sounds

Standing next to the warm brown beast of a piano built by Blüthner in Leipzig in 1867, Sir András Schiff advised his audience last night to clear their minds and ears of preconceptions. He told us that his rendering of Brahms’s first piano concerto...

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The Rosenkavalier film, OAE, Paterson, QEH review - silent-era muddle expertly accompanied

Let's face it, Robert "Cabinet of Dr Caligari" Wiene's 1926 film loosely based on Strauss and Hofmannsthal's 1911 "comedy for music" is a mostly inartistic ramble. Historically, though, it proves fascinating. The composer mostly left it to Otto...

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Prom 23 review: OAE, Christie - scintillating drama in Handel's Israel in Egypt

How do you make a venerable warhorse frisk like a coltish show-pony? Hire William Christie as the trainer. In a performance of scintillating drama and crystal-clear definition, the past master of Baroque revival and re-invention coaxed the Orchestra...

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OAE, Christie, St John's Smith Square

William Christie chose a suitably light and breezy programme for this warm summer evening’s concert at St. John’s Smith Square. The concert was titled “Bach goes to Paris”, with works chosen to highlight the connections between the German master and...

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