sun 17/02/2019

Soviet Union

Best of 2018: Classical CDs

Record shops may be thin on the ground, but CDs are still very much with us. No sensible soul would ever rate listening to a recording over experiencing music live. But if, like me, time, money and geography limit one’s opportunities to nip out to...

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Blu-ray: A Gentle Creature

“To our enormous suffering!” There are many macabre vodka toasts, accompanied by some appropriately gruelling visuals, in A Gentle Creature, but that one surely best captures the beyond-nihilist mood of Sergei Loznitsa’s 2017 Cannes competition...

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h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Marina Gerner on Russian art

On a recent visit to the Royal Academy, I noticed a tall, elegantly dressed man who spent quite some time admiring a square object attached to the wall. I wondered whether to tell him that far from being Russian avant-garde art, which was the theme...

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theartsdesk in Riga - 43,290 Latvians sing and dance for their country

"They incessantly break down, destroy and fragment the mistrust that exists among people," wrote a Latvian journalist of a folklore group during the start of the Baltic countries' "singing revolution" against Soviet rule in 1988. This is the recent...

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theartsdesk in Minsk: feasting with Belarus Free Theatre

Budzma! (Cheers!) At a long, food-laden table in a noisy room of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, a toast is proposed. We clink glasses and drain moonshine. This happens once, twice, five, 10 times. Between the toasts comes a wave of passionate...

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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Kneehigh on tour review - sweetest musical Chagalliana

Time flies so much more beguilingly in Daniel Jamieson and Emma Rice's 90-minute musical fantasia than it ever has, for me, in Bock and Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof – and the songs aren't bad, either. The inspiration here – and inspiration's the...

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Radically different: Horn player Anneke Scott on The Prince Regent's Band

The Prince Regent’s Band was formed in 2013 and, like very many chamber ensembles, was created when a group of us found that we shared a number of interests in common. The musicians that make up the ensemble are all specialist historic brass players...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Howells, Karayev, Lotichius

Herbert Howells: Music for Clavichord Julian Perkins (Prima Facie)Herbert Howells was at a low ebb in the 1920s. His energies were sapped by ongoing health issues and resultant medical treatment. A severe creative crisis followed the disastrous...

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Storyville: Toffs, Queers and Traitors, BBC Four review - the spy who was a scamp

“There is something odd, I suppose, about anyone who betrays their country.” It’s an excellent opening line, particularly when delivered in director George Carey’s nicely querulous narrative voice, for Toffs, Queers and Traitors (BBC Four). He...

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Red Star Over Russia, Tate Modern review – fascinating history in a nutshell

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s Tate Modern exhibition features an installation made in 1985 of a Moscow bedsit, its walls lined with political posters. There’s a gaping hole in the ceiling made when the occupant apparently catapulted himself through the...

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October, LSO, Strobel, Barbican review - Eisenstein with steel score

Forget the ersatz experience of Sergey Eisenstein's mighty silent films accompanied by slabs of Shostakovich symphonies composed years later. This collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra and Kino Klassika is as close as we can ever come...

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The Death of Stalin review - dictatorship as high farce

Like Steptoe and Son with ideological denouncements, Stalin’s Politburo have known each other too long. They’re not only trapped but terrified, a situation whose dark comedy is brought to a head by Uncle Joe’s sudden, soon fatal stroke in 1953. The...

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