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Staatskapelle Berlin, Barenboim, Royal Festival Hall

The furtive opening bars of Mozart’s C minor Piano Concerto No. 24 were shrouded in a mellowness of tone that made them welcoming rather than darkly unsettling and as the well upholstered sound of the venerable Staatskapelle Berlin took hold we were cast back into an era of sound and style that was altogether “other”. … [Read More]

Posted on 17/04/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony – the 9th – poses many questions, none more perplexing than what might have been in terms of its absent finale.

There are those who insist that the great Catholic symphonist had completely sketched and all but scored the final movement – but attempts to stitch together a performing version have … [Read More]

Posted on 05/02/2012
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Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Abbado, Royal Festival Hall

Precious few conductors bring an aura of their own into the concert hall, still fewer change our perceptions of music and the way we listen to it. Claudio Abbado is one. And the orchestra he hand-picked back in 2003 to live and breathe the music like an extension of himself is the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.… [Read More]

Posted on 11/10/2011
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London Symphony Orchestra, Pires, Haitink, Barbican Hall

Her appearances in this country are rare enough as it is so to discover that Maria Joao Pires was to be a late substitute (for the indisposed Murray Perahia) was precious consolation indeed. She played Mozart’s last and in some ways sparest Piano Concerto – No.27 in B-flat minor – with the kind of profound … [Read More]

Posted on 15/06/2011
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London Symphony Orchestra, Rattle, Barbican Hall

Another ingeniously apposite piece of programming from Simon Rattle – but this time the Berlin Philharmonic had stayed in Berlin and a long awaited re-match with the London Symphony Orchestra presented two mighty instrumental canvasses as startling in sonic contrast as they were bonded in spirit. Intimations of mortality dominated the evening and from “out … [Read More]

Posted on 08/03/2011
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