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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Power, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

James MacMillanNothing follows Mahler 6 and surely nothing should precede it. Nothing. Even a piece as compelling as James MacMillan’s Viola Concerto here receiving its World Premiere under the extraordinary fingers of its dedicatee Lawrence Power. There’s only so much intensity and so many notes we can take on board in a single concert and I, … [Read More]

Posted on 16/01/2014
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Janacek “The Cunning Little Vixen”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

It might be deduced that the only thing worse than working with children and animals would be working with children as animals. But Leos Janacek was unfazed by the old Hollywood adage and his cartoon-strip derived opera The Cunning Little Vixen was spirited from page to stage with uncynical conviction and, it has to be … [Read More]

Posted on 21/05/2012
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Posted in Reviews

Wagner “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Some pieces you just have to trust and trust implicitly. When a text is as good as Wagner’s Die Meistersinger it’s a wise director who takes a step back and let the words, the characters, the bountiful score go forth and prosper. Some might call David McVicar’s first Glyndebourne staging “traditional” but that’s something of … [Read More]

Posted on 22/05/2011
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LPO, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Send in the clowns. Or at least that was Vladimir Jurowski’s musical thinking in bringing together the mighty foursome of Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Haydn, and Shostakovich and seeing just how far their capricious natures might take us. The allusions and parodies came thick and fast and just when you thought there was no more irony to … [Read More]

Posted on 19/03/2011
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Fashion is a strange thing. There was a time when the César Franck Symphony was popular core repertoire. All the greats performed and recorded it – Monteux, Bernstein, Karajan. Suddenly it was out of vogue – obsolete, neglected. Why? Hearing it again after so long an absence (I really cannot remember when I last heard … [Read More]

Posted on 23/01/2011
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Kavakos, Wildner, Royal Festival Hall

There are a handful of examples that I can think of where an unknown conductor has stepped in at the eleventh-hour and created an overnight sensation. This was not one of them. And yet, credit where it is due, a complex and demanding programme such as this – Mahler’s harrowing 6th Symphony preceded somewhat gratuitously … [Read More]

Posted on 15/01/2011
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LPO, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Vladimir Jurowski must have had a sixth sense about this programme beginning as it did with Debussy’s Prelude Des Pas sur la neige (“Foosteps in the Snow”) and ending with the sound of sleigh bells ushering in the wonderworld that is Mahler’s 4th Symphony.

Colin Matthews’ orchestrations of Debussy’s Three Preludes do what all orchestrations … [Read More]

Posted on 02/12/2010
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LPO/ Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall

What a journey we took here from the muted half-lights of Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique to the tumultuous bell-laden prophecy at the close of Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony. Vasily Petrenko was at the helm of the London Philharmonic taking time out from his Scousers to probe and reveal with his customary precision a repertoire that is so … [Read More]

Posted on 25/11/2010
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