Blog Archives

Prom 64: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vavic, Jurowski, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Legends, myths, and Nietzsche’s Superman – which for the purposes of this London Philharmonic Prom was none other than Vladimir Jurowski himself. His extraordinary ear, his nurturing and layering of texture, was a constant source of intrigue and delight and at least one performance – that of Sibelius’ tone poem Pohjola’s Daughter – was revelatory … [Read More]

Posted on 31/08/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Prom 53: Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms 2013With the imminent release of a scorching account of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra set the bar very high (too high?) for their Prom curtain-raiser – Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy-Overture “Romeo and Juliet”. The opening of this piece is a nightmare of woodwind chording and tuning and whilst the quality of … [Read More]

Posted on 23/08/2013
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Prom 21: BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Sondergard, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Thomas Søndergård at the BBC PromsThe “Turning Point” in Colin Matthews’ so named orchestral piece is a change of attitude, a sudden seriousness of purpose, a great effort of will to stop moving and take stock of where it – whatever it is – is going. That Matthews did actually stop mid-composition because, precisely as the piece tells us, he … [Read More]

Posted on 30/07/2013
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Philharmonia Orchestra, Lugansky, Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall

Liadov crafted more than his fair share of curtain-raisers – but to what end? One might imagine The Enchanted Lake – an atmospheric and beautifully scored miniature – as the prelude to an opera or full-length ballet; there would be method and consequence in that. But as a piece in its own right its six … [Read More]

Posted on 24/04/2013
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Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (Review)

With the news that Vasily Petrenko had extended his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra “to eternity” (his words) the little bit of Russia that came to the soon to be refurbished Philharmonic Hall in his series “Petrenko, Stravinsky, and the Ballet Russes” seemed doubly apposite. And even if it was … [Read More]

Posted on 16/03/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

St Petersburg Philharmonic, Vengerov, Temirkanov, Barbican Hall

When you are arguably the greatest violinist in the world a four-year “time out” from the public arena can seem like an eternity. But it’s a time for renewal, too, and though absence makes audiences’ hearts grow fonder (and nowhere more so than in London), expectations grow higher, too. Which is perhaps why – on … [Read More]

Posted on 25/03/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

As curator of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s ongoing Prokofiev series Vladimir Jurowski has striven to highlight the paradoxes which serve to make him the most contradictory of composers. He’s fielding oddities, he’s bowling googlies – none more so than Symphonic Song Op.57. When did anyone last hear this curiosity, if ever, and was there … [Read More]

Posted on 19/01/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vedernikov, Royal Festival Hall

The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s intriguing new Prokofiev series is entitled “Man of the People?” and the enigma is all in the question mark. Beginning at the end with the last of his symphonies, the 7th, was far from arbitrary. This is a piece about enchantment where childhood fairy-tales are revisited from an adulthood of compromised … [Read More]

Posted on 14/01/2012
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I, Culture Orchestra, Kotla, Marriner, Royal Festival Hall

Sounding for all the world like the latest App for a certain smartphone, the I, Culture Orchestra is the youngest orchestra on the planet – just seven concerts old. In essence it’s the official orchestra of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council and yet another instance of music in action across borders – namely … [Read More]

Posted on 07/11/2011
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Prom 52: London Symphony Orchestra, Gergiev, Royal Albert Hall

Two Prokofiev symphonies for the price of one – the First and Fifth, the little and large of the canon – and surprisingly it was the bantam weight First that yielded Valery Gergiev’s biggest surprises and tiniest revelations. Rarely has it sounded so tantalisingly Haydnesque.

By no stretch of the imagination could you have described … [Read More]

Posted on 24/08/2011
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