fri 20/07/2018

Royal Albert Hall

Prom 4, Simpson, BBCPO, Mena review - terrific Lindberg, brooding Shostakovich

The fourth Prom of this season featured only two contrasting pieces, pitching the unabashed joyfulness and good humour of Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto against the angst and defiance of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony. It was the former that left...

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Prom 5, Pelléas et Mélisande, Glyndebourne review - for the ears, not the eyes

What a fabulous score Pelléas et Mélisande is, and what a joy to be able to hear it in a concert performance without the distraction of some over-sophisticated director’s self-communings. Well, if only. What last night’s Prom in fact served up was a...

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Prom 3, BBC Young Musician at 40 review - multi-layered birthday cake

How do you go about co-ordinating a spectacular like this, the first ever BBC Young Musicians' Prom? With 23 brilliant soloists from clarinettist Michael Collins, not even the winner of the first event 40 years ago, to 16-year-old Lauren Zhang, who...

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Prom 1, BBCSO, Oramo review – spectacular First Night of the Proms

The First Night of the Proms is always a tricky one to programme, bringing together themes of the season, perhaps a new work and, most importantly, a grand finale. This year’s Prom No. 1 ticked all the boxes, and without feeling like pick-n-mix. It...

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Pick of the 2018 BBC Proms: women composers first and last, blockbuster Bernstein

Let's be honest, this is the least interesting Proms season on paper for years, at least in terms of adventurous repertoire choices, following on the heels of the best in 2017. Yet in statistical terms it's more comprehensive and multi-media-...

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Ismaili a Go-Go: How the Aga Khan funded a music renaissance

Many of us recognise that rather striking modernist building in Cromwell Gardens near South Kensington tube, having seen it on the way to the V&A or perhaps a Prom at the Albert Hall but not been sure what it is exactly. I hadn't actually been...

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Joan Baez, Royal Albert Hall review - diamonds, but no rust

2018 has become a year of farewells as a mighty handful of musicians who have, in their different ways, defined popular music bow out. Among them is Joan Baez, a star on the Harvard Square coffeehouse scene when she made her unannounced debut at the...

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Gregory Porter, Royal Albert Hall review - impressive first night for the Nat King Cole & Me tour

It was 2011 when Gregory Porter made his first London appearances at Pizza Express in Dean Street. That club has a capacity just over 100, and yet it only seems like yesterday. Last night that same honeyed voice was filling the cavernous 5,272-...

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Cirque du Soleil - OVO, Royal Albert Hall review - fantastical creatures, heart-in-mouth thrills

For their eighth debut at the Royal Albert Hall, mesmerising French-Canadian performance art company Cirque du Soleil takes the audience on a journey into the world underfoot.As if minfied to the size of Wayne Szalinski's children in the 1989 film...

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Best of 2017: Classical concerts

Did Simon Rattle's return to the UK as Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra live up to the hype? Mostly, and when it did, the music-making was superbly alive. But it's vital to observe that another orchestra and chief conductor have...

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Robert Plant, Royal Albert Hall review - the voice remains the same

“Back in the Sixties, before I was born…” Robert Plant has always been as amusing a raconteur as he is a deft weaver of different musical styles, and last night’s show at the Royal Albert Hall was no exception. In amid the music – which jumped...

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Jools Holland and José Feliciano, Royal Albert Hall review - giving the audience what they expect

It really is quite something to be admired, the sheer longevity and staying power of the Jools Holland franchise. The TV show Later...With Jools Holland, with the same core team running it, has just celebrated its 25th anniversary and put its 51st...

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