tue 23/04/2024

Prokofiev

Tetzlaff, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - something of a puzzle

Chief conductor John Storgårds’ first programme of 2024 in the Bridgewater Hall was notable for the visit of Christian Tetzlaff as violin soloist, but perhaps a little puzzling in the choice of Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto as the vehicle for his...

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Classical CDs: Suits, serenades and flared trousers

 Bach: Goldberg Variations Víkingur Ólafsson (piano) (DG)Bach Goldberg Variations Reimagined Rachel Podger/Brecon Baroque (Channel Classics)It feels like ages since I’ve listened to Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I’m more team piano than team...

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Jerusalem Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - singing to make the heart leap

Conversation just before this concert started concerned Verdi’s Il trovatore and the truism that it needs “the four greatest voices in the world”. Whether or not the quartets we heard by Mozart, Prokofiev and Brahms demand the same in string terms,...

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Cinderella, Royal Ballet review - the first British ballet learns the language of flowers

The urge to redesign a heritage ballet is a curious one, given not just the expense but the fact that the main draw of an old ballet is the steps and the music, which stay the same whatever the stage dressing. The Royal Ballet was keen, however, to...

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Dmitri Alexeev, Leighton House review - shadows and light from a master pianist

You can brush aside any problems septuagenarian pianists may have in the toughest repertoire, especially if they give you more than glimpses of why they’re legends in the first place. Those were frequent from the masterly Dmitri Alexeev, long...

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Jansen, LSO, Noseda, Barbican review - hearts of darkness

There’s life in the old overture-concerto-symphony format yet – especially if the conductor not only shapes every phrase but takes care over the number of string players needed for each work, the soloist lives every bar of a concerto you thought you...

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Prom 40, Moore, RPO, Petrenko review - orchestral clarity, and a persuasive trombonist

It does need saying: the RPO may receive less frequent plaudits than some of their London peers, but this is a fine and wonderfully responsive orchestra with a distinctive character.The string sections have a natural opulence and warmth in their...

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Classical CDs: Violins, timpani thwacks and a symphony of iron and steel

 Gidon Kremer: The Warner Collection (Warner Classics)The words of dedication in Gidon Kremer’s autobiography, Between Worlds (2003) are chosen with care. The book is, he wrote, for “all those who are seeking their way”. The Latvian-born...

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Classical CDs: Two bass drums, three oranges and seven symphonies

 Prokofiev: The Symphonies Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton (BIS)The first CD alone (containing almost 87 minutes of music!) in this five-disc set should be enough to convince you to buy the whole thing. Andrew Litton’s Bergen...

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Romeo and Juliet, Birmingham Royal Ballet & Royal Ballet review - a storming start to the season

Two households, both alike in dignity … and both launching their respective seasons with a production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet. For neither the Royal Ballet nor its midlands sibling Birmingham Royal Ballet is this a surprising...

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Gabriela Montero, Kings Place review - improvising to a Chaplin classic is the icing on a zesty cake

As the Statue of Liberty appears in Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant, our improvising pianist proclaims “The Star-Spangled Banner”, only for it to slide dangerously. The passengers on the ship taking them to a new life are brutally cordoned by the...

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Ólafsson, Philharmonia, Järvi, BBC Proms review - a ravishing Proms debut

What does it mean to be Classical? It’s the question award-winning Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has consistently asked in a career that has collided music from Bach to Debussy, presenting them as part of a single conversation and continuum....

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