Blog Archives

Prom 31: Hallé, Coote, Elder, Royal Albert Hall

The levels of refinement now exhibited by the Hallé, the stylishness and elegance of the playing, is alone a measure of the special relationship that they and Mark Elder have cemented over the last decade and a half. The opening bars of Berlioz’ Le corsaire came off the page like a manifesto for French sensibilities … [Read More]

Posted on 10/08/2014
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Elgar The Apostles, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, Davis, Barbican Hall

Sir Colin Davis photo Chris ChristodoulouSir Adrian Boult laid the foundations for its revival, more recently Sir Mark Elder found astonishing illumination within it, and now a third knight of the realm – Sir Andrew Davis (the latest recipient of the Elgar Medal) – chivalrously stamps his authority on it and brings it in from the cold. Elgar’s The Apostles[Read More]

Posted on 13/04/2014
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Elgar “The Dream of Gerontius”, Davis, Barbican

Some performances evolve so naturally, so inevitably, that they feel – bespoke. Andrew Davis has a long history with both the BBC Symphony Orchestra (who gave him his first big break) and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and from that moment in the Prelude where the cellos intimate some eternal lullaby to the ebbing arpeggios … [Read More]

Posted on 07/04/2014
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London Philharmonic, Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

Vasily PetrenkoVasily Petrenko used his baton like a piratical rapier to galvanise the London Philharmonic violins in their flourishes of derring-do at the start of Berlioz’ Overture Le Corsaire. And the brilliance was in the quicksilver contrasts, the lightness and wit of inflection which lent a piquancy to the panache of this great concert opener. … [Read More]

Posted on 22/02/2014
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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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Prom 37: Elgar “The Apostles”, Hallé Orchestra & Choirs, Elder – Review*****

For those of us who have always regarded The Apostles as the least of Elgar’s great trilogy of religious oratorios the magnificence of Mark Elder’s Hallé performance will have coaxed if not demanded re-evaluation. The Albert Hall is, of course, a wondrous place in which to unfold these multitudinous happenings if – and it’s a … [Read More]

Posted on 11/08/2012
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Philharmonia Orchestra, Davis, Royal Festival Hall

The occasion was Delius’ 150th birthday but more broadly it was a celebration of Englishness. Vaughan Williams’ lark ascended once more, the Philharmonia’s concert master Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay effecting the transfiguration of song into mystic musing with elegantly nuanced fingerwork and fluttery trills transporting us slowly but surely into the ether.

Delius’ rarely heard Cello Concerto … [Read More]

Posted on 30/01/2012
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London Symphony Orchestra, Pappano, Barbican Hall

It was almost as if the London Symphony Orchestra had enjoyed advance notice of Antonio Pappano’s well-deserved Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list. The all-English programme made for a stylish celebration, Sir Antonio (a slight incongruity there) conducting Elgar’s First Symphony with fabulous authority, the London Symphony Orchestra piling on the opulence like a … [Read More]

Posted on 11/01/2012
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National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Daniel, Barbican Hall

You’d expect the teenagers of the National Youth Orchestra to have some good moves but the opening and closing items of their winter concert took us all the way to the club floor and back again. I’m not sure that Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Hammered Out has a whole lot to do with “70s jazz funk”, as … [Read More]

Posted on 07/01/2012
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Prom 24: BBC Symphony Orchestra, Davis, Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall can be an intimate place, mysteriously transforming on occasions from monster auditorium to private salon. There’s something about a small group of players, or in this case singers – the BBC Singers – in close harmony that effects that transformation and so it came to pass that the short vocal preface … [Read More]

Posted on 03/08/2011
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