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Prom 1, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Choruses, Oramo (Review)

The 119th season of BBC Proms opened not with a bang but with barely a murmur. A thrumming, like the beating of tiny insect wings, like the hum of summer, looked towards not just the season ahead but eternity. Julian Anderson’s setting of words by the mystical 19th century naturist Richard Jeffries had a syncopated, … [Read More]

Posted on 13/07/2013
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Vaughan Williams “Pilgrim’s Progress”, English National Opera, London Coliseum

ENO Vaughan Williams' Pilgrim's ProgressNot for nothing did Vaughan Williams frame his “Morality” The Pilgim’s Progress with scenes of John Bunyan imprisoned. Bunyan would not conform to Church of England doctrines and neither, in his way, would Vaughan Williams. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a spiritual journey – a quest for answers – and the length of its gestation suggests … [Read More]

Posted on 06/11/2012
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Posted in Opera, Reviews

Prom 46: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Manze**** – Review

Vaughan Williams’ three greatest symphonies in chronological sequence and at the heart of this extraordinary Prom – even better in realisation than on paper – the ineffable Romanza of the Fifth: haunted by one war, fearful of another. Admittedly there came with Andrew Manze’s highly individual readings an element of culture shock as if Vaughan … [Read More]

Posted on 17/08/2012
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Posted in Reviews

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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Posted in Reviews

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