Blog Archives

Prom 50: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Weilerstein, Belohlavek, Royal Albert Hall

Alisa Weilerstein BBC Proms 2014.Even as orchestras began to sound more and more alike, there was the Czech Philharmonic. And many of its notable characteristics remain to this day: a modest, homespun, quality, warm and engaging and full of bright-eyed distinction in the woodwinds. In the pithy but immensely passionate overture to Janacek’s last opera From the House of [Read More]

Posted on 25/08/2014
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Fidelio, English National Opera (Review)

The first words we hear don’t belong to Fidelio at all, the first music does, but not at all where you expect to find it. If you’ve read your programme (and who does before the show begins?) you’ll find a poem entitled “Labyrinth” by Jorge Luis Borges from a collection In Praise of Darkness. … [Read More]

Posted on 26/09/2013
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Prom 33: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Uchida, Jansons, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Mitsuko Uchida performs with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at the BBC PromsPrecious few musicians can instill such a sense of intimacy into their playing as to have us believing that the Royal Albert Hall is Wigmore Hall and that their performance is for an audience of one and not six thousand. Mitsuko Uchida is among the select few. Indeed there were feats of projection in pianissimo … [Read More]

Posted on 09/08/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

London Symphony Orchestra, Gardiner, Barbican Hall (Review)

Any young composer who finds himself at the opposite end of a programme from Walton’s First Symphony had better be good. Edward Nesbit – whose piece Parallels was commissioned by the LSO Panufnik Young Composer’s Scheme – is certainly that. Indeed the aggressive brass punctuations and nerve-wracking silences that helped point up the symmetry of … [Read More]

Posted on 30/11/2012
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

London Symphony Orchestra, Petrenko, Barbican Hall (Review)

LSOIt should have been Sir Colin Davis, of course (and the news filtering through on Sir Colin is sadly not encouraging), but the very first chord of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto was a startling demonstration of what makes the interpretative business of music so endlessly fascinating. The character of that first chord under Vasily Petrenko could … [Read More]

Posted on 19/10/2012
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

A Conversation With The ELIAS STRING QUARTET

Elias String QuartetThe vibrant ELIAS STRING QUARTET are 14 years young, well established, and well respected on the international scene. Former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and recipients of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2010, they are at that major crossroads in any quartet’s life when they embark upon a complete cycle of the Beethoven Quartets. … [Read More]

Posted on 11/10/2012
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Posted in Podcasts

Leif Ove Andsnes – the Beethoven Journey

Tonight Leif Ove Andsnes plays the Beethoven First Piano Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Royal Festival Hall. As I write he’s probably just about now presenting the Chamber Music award at this year’s Gramophone Awards. But yesterday he was in the business centre of my building talking Beethoven for a … [Read More]

Posted on 27/09/2012
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Posted in Asides

Prom 13: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Barenboim, Royal Albert Hall – review

On the evidence of the series so far I doubt anyone was expecting Stravinsky’s favourite Beethoven Symphony – the 8th – to spring from the starting blocks with the kind of propulsive dynamism implicit in the composer’s metronome marking. But I for one had anticipated a more athletic response from Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra … [Read More]

Posted on 25/07/2012
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Posted in Reviews

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Fleming, Eschenbach, Royal Festival Hall

With Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture raising the curtain, so to speak, Renée Fleming arrived like Venus in a soufflé of black and bronze layered chiffon. Or to be more in keeping with the Strauss Four Last Songs she was about to sing, a gown fit for a Countess. No one makes an entrance or wears a … [Read More]

Posted on 15/12/2011
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Posted in Reviews

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chailly, Barbican Hall

The venerable and venerated Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra gave the first ever complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies and Riccardo Chailly, their 19th Kapellmeister, was impatient to renew that sense of revelation and surprise in an age when each of the nine has grown so familiar that restoring the elusive shock-of-the-new factor can and does separate the … [Read More]

Posted on 27/10/2011
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Posted in Reviews

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