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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hannigan, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Barbara HanniganVladimir Jurowski deemed this the most challenging of any programme in the South Bank’s year long The Rest is Noise festival and proceeded to tell us precisely why. That his little preamble lasted almost twice as long as the first piece – Webern’s Variations for Orchestra Op.30 – was an indicator of just how scientific … [Read More]

Posted on 28/04/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Philharmonia Orchestra, Salonen, Royal Festival Hall

Sometimes the most disturbing images exist only in our imaginations – and so the questions posed in the preface to Bartok’s operatic masterpiece Duke Bluebeard’s Castle become especially pertinent: “Where did this happen – outside or within? Where is the stage – outside or within?” The answers, surely, lie “within”, making the prospect of a … [Read More]

Posted on 04/11/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Prom 74: The Last Night

There were funeral pyres to light, mountains to climb, and, of course, there was Jerusalem to build. All in a Last Night’s work. Another record-breaking season – an astonishing 94% of capacity – thundered to a close with the usual assortment of incongruous “turns”. Ours not to reason why Bartok was rubbing shoulders with Brünnhilde … [Read More]

Posted on 11/09/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Prom 43: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Litton, Royal Albert Hall

There are programmes and there are Proms programmes and this three-tier special was of mythic proportions. It started as it meant to go on, with a big bang, as Andrew Litton and the Royal Philharmonic brasses and percussion summoned the “Common Man” to bear witness. He – or rather we – were there in great … [Read More]

Posted on 17/08/2011
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Prom 9: Hallé Orchestra, Elder, Royal Albert Hall

Homecomings, real and imagined, marked out this season’s Hallé Prom. For Sibelius, brazen horn fanfares and myriad string ostinati carried us at the gallop to the heart of the Finnish heartlands. Everything in his rarely performed Scènes historiques – Suite No.2  is seen, or rather heard, with absolute clarity. We are a long way from … [Read More]

Posted on 22/07/2011
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Philharmonia Orchestra, Salonen, Royal Festival Hall

The “Infernal Dance” goes on. But in this the second instalment of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s well-named Bartok series it was Stravinsky who ultimately called the tune and dictated the footwork. A thrill-packed performance of The Rite of Spring brought people to their feet but there’s quite nothing like the context of a well-made programme to … [Read More]

Posted on 11/02/2011
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Posted in Reviews

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