mon 18/10/2021

Southbank Centre

Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review - the really big orchestra is back for cosmic Strauss

Two suns, two moons, two Philharmonia leaders sharing a front desk, two aspirational giants among Richard Strauss's symphonic poems bringing the number of players, in the second half, to 134. Who’d have thought we’d be witnessing such phenomena when...

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The Midsummer Marriage, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – Tippett’s cornucopia shines in fits and starts

British opera’s attempted answer to The Magic Flute, and its presentation as the opening gambit of Edward Gardner’s eminent position as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, leave me queasily ambivalent.After all the smoke and...

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Ben Howard, Royal Festival Hall review - authentic and reassuring

Ben Howard is a man of very few words, unless of course, there’s a guitar accompanying them.These are his first shows since the start of lockdown but all he says about that is “thanks for coming out this evening”. Hobbling onto the stage with his...

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Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

“A tonic to the nation”. That was the hoped-for effect of the Festival of Britain in 1951, and its concrete legacy was the Royal Festival Hall. Seventy years on, it’s fitting that English National Ballet should be the first through its doors, post...

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Uchida, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - Bach to the future

In the beginning, 38 years ago, came a career-making Mahler Third Symphony for Esa-Pekka Salonen in his first concert with the Philharmonia. Reassembling that vast epic wouldn't be possible under present circumstances. Last night, ending 13 years as...

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Bronfman, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – celebration around C major

One of the many things we’ll miss when Esa-Pekka Salonen moves on from his 13 years as the Philharmonia’s principal conductor will be his programming. For this first of his farewell concerts, he’s not only chosen what he loves but made sure it all...

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Swan Lake, LPO, Jurowski, Marquee TV review - full Tchaikovsky score perfectly paced

Two regrets and a tentative hope before full praise for what has to be the best complete Swan Lake in concert ever. Not everyone will be sorry, as I am, that Jurowski chose for his grand leavetaking as music director of the London Philharmonic...

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Coote, Philharmonia, Gardiner, Southbank Centre online review - English masterworks

This Philharmonia concert from the Royal Festival Hall comprised three masterworks of English music, following a (welcome) trend that has emerged in COVID-era streamed concerts in digging out a couple of smaller-scale, less often programmed pieces...

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Isserlis, LPO, Elder, Southbank Centre online review – songs of life and death

The Southbank Centre automatically stuck the trusty “Bohemian Rhapsodies” headline on this London Philharmonic Orchestra concert of Czech music streamed from the still-deserted Royal Festival Hall. Given Janáček’s presence on the bill, they should...

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Bevan, LPO, Jurowski, RFH online review – never-ending stories

The LPO, and its soon-to-depart chief conductor Vladimir Jurowski, began its 2020 Vision season back in February. It set out to mix and match the music of three centuries and show how it echoes in contemporary works. Well, little of that turned out...

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Julia Bullock, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – bewitching dreamscapes

Nobody would wish it this way, but orchestras playing on a stage specially built-up for distancing to a handful of invitees have never sounded better in the Royal Festival Hall. The Philharmonia’s outgoing principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is a...

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Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review – wide range of American voices

There’s an old rule in the theatre that you don’t have to go on if there are more people on stage than in the audience. Last night I counted less than 15 people listening in the cavernous auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall pitted against a fairly...

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