thu 26/05/2022

Shostakovich

Gillam, NYOS, Hasan, Usher Hall, Edinburgh - stunning variety from the new generation

I expected the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland’s Usher Hall concert to be jam-packed with a joyful melee of admiring friends and relatives. This is a vast orchestra of over 100, and it wouldn’t take that many aunts and uncles to fill the Usher’...

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Bournemouth SO, Karabits, Lighthouse, Poole review - more voices from the east

The last of this season’s Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concert series Voices from the East featured music from Azerbaijan with Kirill Karabits focusing on works by the contemporary composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh and her teacher Kara Karayev.Born in...

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Kanneh-Mason, LPO, Bloxham, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne review - stark Russian contrasts

With a predictable Sheku sell-out in the hall, the context of post-Eunice clean-up and current teetering on the brink with Russia lent a strangely unsettling and salutary resonance to the programme of Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto framed by...

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Stikhina, Kowaljow, LSO, Noseda, Barbican review - dramatic songs of death, electrifying dances of life

“This symphony comprises 11 songs about death and lasts about one hour,” the conductor Mark Wigglesworth declared before a second New York performance of Shostakovich’s Fourteenth – people had left in droves during the first – only to see a swathe...

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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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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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Classical CDs: Soviet symphonies, popular classics and percussion

 Louise Farrenc; Symphonies 1&3 Insula Orchestra/Laurence Equilbey (Erato)Louise Farrenc’s music is good as you’d expect from a precocious talent who’d studied piano with Hummel and composition with Reicha. Born in 1804, Farrenc’s...

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Carducci Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - complexity and depth

This programme was a bit of a calling card from the Carducci Quartet. They have previously recorded all three works, and the three composers, Haydn, Shostakovich, Beethoven, clearly play to their strengths. Add to that a modest running time, the...

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Classical CDs: Three great conductors remembered, Mahler with accordion and a song cycle with no singer

 André Previn: The Warner Edition – Complete HMV & Teldec Recordings (Warner Classics)Flicking through this box set will provoke a Proustian rush if you’re of a certain age. These recordings were mostly made for EMI, though Warner Classics...

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Wigmore Hall at Portman Square / Wang, LSO, Tilson Thomas, LSO St Luke's review - al fresco chamber, full orchestra indoors

Sometimes the big musical institutions follow off-piste trailblazers. John Gilhooly of the Wigmore Hall has been a hero in lockdown year, keeping musicians paid up and performing to audiences live or via livestream (or both); but it was clarinettist...

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Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a piano. It’s no secret to any opera goer that even the barest outlines of a staging can magnify the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Shostakovich, Chris Watson and Georgia Rodgers

 Mahler: Symphony No. 7 Orchestre National de Lille/Alexandre Bloch (Alpha Classics)Mahler 5’s five movements trace a lucid journey from darkness to light, and No. 6’s tautly-structured outer movements don’t contain a wasted note. Whereas...

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