sun 03/03/2024

Russia

Faust, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - violence and wit in Shostakovich, luminosity in Brahms

The LSO’s apéritif hour “Half-Six Fixes” have an informality that usually works and sometimes doesn’t. But the first of this two-night run of Dmitri Shostakovich’s monstrous and terrifying Fourth Symphony was unforgettable. Panels on the auditorium...

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Gerhaher, Huber, Wigmore Hall review - new colours from old favourites

After a frozen week, the sensual languor of Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été promised warm respite at the Wigmore Hall – especially when delivered by house favourite Christian Gerhaher and his peerless pianist, Gerold Huber.Yet the Bavarian baritone saved...

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Tchaikovsky's Wife review - husband material

The movies haven’t been kind to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker Suite was a highlight of Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940) perhaps, but the 1969 Soviet biopic directed by Igor Talankin was tedious and Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers, released...

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Queendom review - an LGBTQ+ performance artist takes to the streets of Moscow in protest

It takes a brave or a foolhardy person to walk the streets wearing almost nothing but barbed wire and platform shoes, especially when the occasion is an anti-war demo in Moscow and the penalty for joining the march is up to 15 years in jail.It’s...

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Album: Lucidvox - That's What Remained

That's What Remained is the aural equivalent of being pulled into a maelstrom and then surrendering to this powerful natural force. Initially, it does not seem safe. But it soon becomes apparent that submission isn’t a problem. It will be fine....

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Lugansky, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - so sure in all their ways

It’s a given that no finer Rachmaninov interpreter exists than Nikolai Lugansky – a few others may see the works differently, not better – and that Vasily Petrenko has an uncanny affinity with both the swagger and the introspection of Elgar. But...

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Prom 16: Hallé, Elder review - a mighty Russian journey

Perhaps music and politics should always stay at a decent arm’s length; in the modern world, they seldom can. The Hallé’s annual visit to the Proms presented an all-Russian bill and closed with Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony: his much-disputed “...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Musical Offering - works for the Soviet-era ANS synthesiser

One of the most striking scenes in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 outer-space allegory Solaris is psychologist Kris Kelvin’s first encounter with a being which seems to be his wife, who had died a decade earlier. The unsettling incident’s inherent tension...

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Extract: Bacon in Moscow by James Birch

In 1988, James Birch – curator, art dealer, and gallery owner – took Francis Bacon to Moscow. It was, as he writes, "an unimaginable intrusion of Western Culture into the heart of the Soviet system". At a time of powerful political tension and...

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Fiona Maddocks: Goodbye Russia - Rachmaninoff in Exile review - an affectionate biographical portrait

In 1917, in the face of the Bolshevik revolution closing in on his country estate, Rachmaninoff fled Russia, never to return. He was 44, at his peak as composer, pianist and conductor, but spent the rest of his life in exile in the US and...

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The Pillowman, Duke of York’s Theatre review - starry but slack

British theatre is getting a bit timid – is that right? Ahead of the opening of this revival of Martin McDonagh’s unforgettable 2003 masterpiece, The Pillowman, its director Matthew Dunster has spoken of the tendency of playwrights and theatres...

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Patriots, Noël Coward Theatre review - crash-bang brilliant Putin comedy does it again

With apocalyptic floods pouring through the Kakhovka dam, and millions of Ukrainians displaced or bereaved, it doesn’t feel decent to be laughing at a witty black comedy about his rise from nonentity to full-blown tyrant. On the other hand, how can...

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