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Philharmonia Orchestra, Gabetta, Ashkenazy, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

Sol GabettaDeath comes in many guises but in this ingeniously devised Philharmonia concert he most definitely did not have the last laugh. That was for Shostakovich and a curiously ticking time bomb of percussion which first surfaced in his Fourth Symphony when Stalin branded him a renegade but which later became a kind of defiant titter … [Read More]

Posted on 22/02/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Prom 54: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko – Review ****

I’m not quite sure what Her Majesty would make of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ 9th Symphony or more particularly of the fractured fanfare flourishes which greet her so rowdily and enthusiastically through its opening pages – but as one who has welcomed Mr. Bond 007 into her chambers we know her to be intrepid.

Davies’ … [Read More]

Posted on 24/08/2012
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Prom 51, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Nelsons – Review ****

Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony “Leningrad” is a tough act to follow but a tougher act to precede and I’m not sure it was ever going to be fair on Emily Howard whose Prom premiere “Calculus of the Nervous System” provided so little to hold our attention for even 15 minutes.

Shostakovich is, of course, the past … [Read More]

Posted on 22/08/2012
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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 Symphony Orchestra, Mutter, Gergiev, Barbican Hall

For anyone who’s ever thought that the term Vorsprung durch Technik might be better applied to the superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter than a certain brand of automobile her hair-raising account of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra will have given pause. The spirit was so wild and the risks so … [Read More]

Posted on 01/12/2011
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Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Queen Elizabeth Hall

At the core of the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a string ensemble, soloistic in nature, enquiring in spirit, whose connections one to the other make for a palpable kind of musical telepathy. Energy and vitality are key to their communication skills and the twinkle in the eye contact and bravado in the body language (in … [Read More]

Posted on 30/11/2011
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London Symphony Orchestra, Bronfman, Gergiev, Barbican Hall

As sometimes happens in live performances a soloist’s encore might display a brilliance and precision that one might have felt lacking in the main event – or, in this case, events. Yefim Bronfman’s account of the Paganini-Liszt Étude No.2 in E-flat major was dazzling and alert and focused in ways that his back-to-back performances of … [Read More]

Posted on 13/05/2011
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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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