fri 19/04/2019

Schoenberg

Ehnes, BBCSO, Ryan Wigglesworth, Barbican review - a concert of two very different halves

The big news on this programme was Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande. This early score, completed in 1903, is a sprawling Expressionist tone poem, making explicit all the passions in Maeterlinck’s play that Debussy only implies. The story plays out...

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Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – three iconic works

At first sight, performing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring – premiered in 1913 and sometimes seen as presaging the whole world of modernism – in the centenary year of the 1918 Armistice might seem to be lagging behind in timing (if centenaries float...

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Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall review – Viennese schools refreshed

In the right hands, the music of the various Viennese Schools can still sound almost startlingly original. Imogen Cooper’s are very much the right hands, containing a rare, refined artistry that only continues to grow with the years. In her Wigmore...

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Prom 46 review: Gurrelieder, LSO, Rattle - gorgeous colours, halting movement in Schoenberg's monsterpiece

From sunset to sunrise, across aeons of time, usually flashes by in Schoenberg's polystylistic epic. Not last night at the Proms: Simon Rattle is too much in love with the sounds he can get from the London Symphony Orchestra - here verging on a...

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Pick of the 2017 BBC Proms: from Orthodox chant to Oklahoma!

It’s the best-looking Proms season on paper for quite a few years. That might just be a different way of saying we like it, but no-one could reproach Director David Pickard for lack of original programming or diversity (look at the whole, bigger...

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Maurizio Pollini, RFH

Age is finally catching up with Maurizio Pollini. This recital was one of a series to mark the pianist’s 75th birthday, presenting Beethoven piano sonatas, music at the core of his repertoire. His legendary status was justified by these readings,...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gavin Higgins, Christopher Simpson, Pina Napolitano

 Gavin Higgins: Dark Arteries and other works Tredegar Town Band/Ian Porthouse (Tredegar Town Band)The heavy industries associated with British brass bands may be close to extinction, so it’s reassuring to encounter evidence that so many of...

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Jeremy Denk, Wigmore Hall

Medieval to Modern – Jeremy Denk’s Wigmore Hall recital took us on a whistle-stop tour of Western music, beginning with Machaut in the mid-14th century and ending with Ligeti at the end of the 20th. The programme was made up of 25 short works, each...

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East Neuk Festival 2016

All the best festivals develop organically, with a guiding hand from the best directors. When I first came to the East Neuk Festival two years ago, on its 10th anniversary, it was already a special case, thriving on the spirit of place and including...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Dvořak, Janáček, Schoenberg, Igor Levit

 Janáček: Sinfonietta, Dvořak: Symphony No.9 Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel (Alpha Classics)Jos van Immerseel's last period-instrument excursion took in Orff's Carmina Burana, so this latest release is a chronological back step. Though...

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Farewell to Stravinsky's right-hand man

Missionary angel or twelve-tone devil? Musical figures like Poulenc, perhaps too much attached to the diabolical element in Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus, were inclined to see the incursion of Robert Craft into Stravinsky’s Hollywood life in 1948 in...

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Gerhaher, Huber, Wigmore Hall

Christian Gerhaher is a classy recitalist. His stage manner is debonair, his tailoring immaculate (although his hair can be unruly). His artistry focuses on key vocal virtues: directness of expression and beauty of tone. In this evening’s recital,...

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