wed 23/09/2020

Shostakovich

Alban Gerhardt, Markus Becker, Wigmore Hall review - long shadows and rich sounds

It wouldn’t be true to say I’d forgotten what a solo cello in a fine concert hall sounds like; revelation of an admittedly sparse year will undoubtedly remain Sumera’s Cello Concerto played by young Estonian Theodor Sink at the Pärnu Music Festival...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Ives, Plakidis, Shostakovich

 Ives: Universe, Incomplete (Accentus DVD)Charles Ives’s Universe Symphony, conceived for 4,000 musicians positioned on different mountain tops, never saw the light of day. Sketches for the work span his creative life, some made as late as 1948...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Aisha Orazbayeva

 Rachmaninoff in Lucerne – Rhapsody, Op. 43, Symphony No. 3 Behzod Abduraimov (piano), Luzerner Sinfonieorchester/James Gaffigan (Sony)I’m the only person I know who rates Walton’s Symphony No. 2 as highly as his first, and I’m probably also...

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Joanna MacGregor, Adrian Brendel, Gildas Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - gold and silver

Startlingly high levels of expression and focused fire made this rich concert worthy of the dedicatee who radiated those qualities, Jacqueline du Pré. Beyond even that, this Wigmore Hall special was an oddly synaesthesic experience – or maybe I'm...

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Frang, CBSO, Yamada, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - the tingle factor

There’s a particular moment of a particular recording – I suppose every slightly over-obsessive record collector has one – that I just keep listening to over and over again. It’s in Fritz Reiner’s 1960 Chicago Symphony recording of Respighi’s The...

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Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues, Igor Levit, Barbican review - an eagle's-eye view

"Citizen. European. Pianist," declares Russian-born, Berlin-based Igor Levit on the front page of his website. One should add, since he wouldn't, Mensch and master of giants. High-level human integrity seems a given when great pianists essay epics:...

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Cargill, BBCSO, Saraste, Barbican review - less is more in Shostakovich

Jukka-Pekka Saraste doesn’t visit London much these days. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and there were rumours that he was in line for the top job. That didn’t happen, and his career soon took him elsewhere – which...

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National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Martín, Barbican review - songs of protest and resilience

In youth we trust. That can be the only motto worth anything for 2020, as the world goes into further meltdown. So it was startling, stunning and cathartic, two days after the big downer of 3 January - the American horror clown seemingly in...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Schubert, Shostakovich, Berlinskaya-Ancelle Piano Duo

 Schubert: Symphony No 9 Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Maxim Emelyanychev (Linn)There’s a telling photo of Maxim Emelyanychev on page 11 of Linn's booklet, the conductor beaming at the camera, the body language suggesting he's having a hard time...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Olari Elts in Tallinn

Arriving in Tallinn hotfoot from Paavo Järvi's inaugural concert as chief conductor of Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, and expecting the limelight to belong to composer Erkki-Sven Tüür on his 60th birthday, I found another Estonian bonus in store. Not...

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Weinberg Focus Day, Wigmore Hall review – innocence and loss, violence and calm

Mieczysław Weinberg – where to begin? The composer died in obscurity in 1996, but his music has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity over the last ten years, culminating in this year’s global celebrations for the centenary of his birth. His music is...

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Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda Act III, Royal Ballet review - time to cheer the corps de ballet

As a mood-lifter, it’s hard to beat the opening of Concerto. Against a primrose sky, figures in daffodil, tangerine and brick form lozenges of fizzing colour, foregrounded by a leading couple so buoyant their heels barely ever touch down. Kenneth...

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