Wigmore Hall, London
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Friday 09 August 2013
The cello is key to the music of William Sweeney, something that becomes luminously apparent in these works showcasing the skills of Robert Irvine, either solo or partnered by pianist Fali Pavri or second cellist Erkki Lahesmaa. Inspired by Gaelic psalm-singing, the title track features the two cellists' lines intertwining like a double helix: the effect resembles a lower-register "Lark Ascending", until a pungent dischord appears, prompting more disparate progressions. "Sonata for Cello and Piano" offers an intriguing combination of exploration and introspection. But "The Poet Tells of His Fame" is the standout performance, Irvine playing over pre-recorded cello samples treated to give a series of tonal washes, whines and textures.
Wednesday 10 July 2013
Very occasionally a performance is so special that the audience feels reluctant to shatter the moment which hangs in the air between them and the musicians with something as profane as applause. So it was at the concert of music by Sir John Tavener at the Manchester International Festival which contained no fewer than three world premieres by the great man as he approaches his 70th birthday.
Saturday 06 July 2013
Somewhere in the intersecting corridors of jazz, modernist composition, Scando-folk and early church music, there’s a small interior chamber that’s not quite silent, and this is what you’ll find there.
Friday 05 July 2013
Blixa Bargeld's collaboration with Italian composer Teho Teardo finds him in fine fettle on a group of typically sardonic songs set to unusual string and electronic arrangements performed with The Balanescu Quartet.
Thursday 09 May 2013
Maurice Gendron, who taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School, was allegedly a sadist who abused his young students
Thursday 04 April 2013
Friday 29 March 2013
“When life goes wrong,” advises Carla Bruni, “try for a little French song” – commending their ability to transport one to Paris. With simple guitar accompaniment akin to ukelele, it's warmly welcoming, and entirely indicative of the mood of Little French Songs as a whole.
Friday 29 March 2013
The Russian composer Victor Kissine's work has been accurately described as possessing a “reticent musical language”, a characteristic skilfully demonstrated by Gidon Kremer's Kremerata Baltica on this album of three chamber-music premieres.
Sunday 24 February 2013
A third composer hovers, ghost-like, in pianist Cheng's beguiling recital with the Calder Quartet.
Friday 01 February 2013
Virtuosi seem to know what they must do from an early age: in Alisa Weilerstein's case, her first “cello” was made from a cereal box and a toothbrush, when she was just two. Since then, she's played with conductors such as Mehta, Dudamel and, here, Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin.
Friday 25 January 2013
A Fine Frenzy is the nom-de-disque of Californian singer-songwriter Alison Sudol, whose gently keening vocals invoke a strain of Pacific coastal wyrdness.
Friday 25 January 2013
In homage to Bach, Benjamin Britten originally planned to write six cello suites for his friend Rostropovich, but was able to complete only three before his death in 1976.
Friday 07 December 2012
He was a gifted cellist, and his work remained rooted in the practicalities of performance
Saturday 24 November 2012
Better known as one-third of post-rockers State River Widening, David Sheppard here collaborates with producer Chris Leary as Snow Palms, a percussion-based unit whose creations owe much to the mallet music of Steve Reich, Moondog and Indonesian gamelan orchestras.
Saturday 27 October 2012
Partnered here with the following year's "Cello Concerto" , Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 has a broad-brush scope and panache that lends itself perfectly to the detailed, focused approach of Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Their interpretation raises new questions: Dvorák may have claimed negro and Native American influences on the work, but reflecting the tendentious ascription of "New World", here it's more the pioneer spirit that infuses the symphony, with its widescreen strings anticipating a century of Western movie vistas, and its can-do bustle suggestive more of colonising settlers than natives. And isn't that the cavalry summoned by those horns?
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