Arts and Entertainment

Kings Place, London

Classical review : LSO / ANDRE PREVIN Barbican Hall, London

Hearing a star performer in the flesh after getting to know him or her on record can be severely disappointing. There is no chromium-plated perfection in the concert hall: acoustic balance, tonal control, musicality - the real thing can sound awfully hit-and-miss after the smoothly edited virtual reality of the compact disc.

Music: Nothing to shout about

Faur Festival Manchester

MUSIC : Swineherds can swing

Nash Ensemble / Orbestra Purcell Room, London

Coming to some arrangement

MUSIC Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam Queen Elizabeth Hall, London The sinfonietta played with taut, grainy sonority and discipined attack

OBITUARY : Terence Weil

Terence Weil was one of the best-known professional cellists in London of his generation. While spending much of his time working with the chamber orchestras that proliferated from the 1950s onwards, it was as a chamber-music player that he really excelled.

Silent, right

Bruckner's symphonies demand absolute concentration; if there's any sign of shuffling during the rests, you can safely assume that the performance isn't working. However, Thursday's Royal Festival Hall audience took Bruckner to their hearts. Come the quieter sections of the Eighth Symphony's half-hour Adagio, and stillness reigned. This was Bernard Haitink at his incomparable best: a sensitive, intelligent and deeply intuitive Brucknarian whose inspired charting of the symphony's vast structure made 80 minutes seem like 18. The Vienna Philharmonic gave their all, whether in the intimate chamber music at the Adagio's peaceful core, or in the finale's raging climaxes. The violins were silken but never over sweet (their tremolandos positively shim mered),while the lower strings combined for a dark but finely tapered sonority. The brass rang loud without hardening in tone and the unmistakably baleful woodwinds blended beautifully into the overall texture. Haitink himself proved a master of transit ions: his timing was beyond reproach, his rubato wholly natural and his sense of musical continuity unmatched in my experience - certainly in the concert hall. Excitement was plentiful, excitability totally absent. The first movement emerged as measured but finely tensed, the Scherzo as wildly visceral (with a particularly eloquent trio) and the long Adagio masterfully sustained, with each successive climax awarded precisely the right level of dramatic emphasis. The finale bolted in at top speed, its su bsequent episodes held tightly in check so that when the coda finally approached and the first movement's principal theme roared its desperate protest, the impact was positively hair-raising. The sum effect was of a great, dignified and spiritually edify ing masterpiece, magnificently interpreted. I can't imagine that London audiences have heard a finer Bruckner Eighth, at least not during the last 30 years.

Obituary: Tommy Tichauer

Toms Alejandro Tichauer Heinemann (Tommy Tichauer), viola player: born Buenos Aires 26 September 1943; married Monica Kosachev (marriage dissolved); died Buenos Aires 14 December 1994.

Melancholy is pleasant to live with

FRAMES OF REFERENCE Bernice Rubens, the author, talks to the psychotherapist Martin Lloyd Elliott about the film that changed her life

MUSIC / Upbeat

WHAT'S in a name? A new lease of life, it seems, where the Docklands Sinfonietta is concerned. Now rechristened Sinfonia 21 (though why exactly no one seems quite sure), the orchestra will be branching out in all sorts of new directions under its newly announced principal conductor Martyn Brabbins. First port of call will be the Midlands, where the orchestra will be resident at next year's Lichfield Festival, before moving on to Sussex to launch its own festival of ancient and modern music at Michelham Priory in August. Sinfonia 21, though, remains firmly anchored in Docklands, where it will be tailoring a three-year education project to the building of the Jubilee line extension and taking up residence at Canary Wharf for a series of lunchtime concerts in the summer.


This Thursday the Walton Chamber Orchestra will make music history when it becomes the first ensemble ever to perform in the Underwriting Room at Lloyd's of London. As if to prove that Charles Ives was not the only composer ever to have made his living from insurance, the concert includes not only the Lady Radnor Suite by former Lloyd's underwriter Sir Hubert Parry (better known as the composer of that Last Night of the Proms standard, Jerusalem), but the premiere of a new work, Encounters, by current Lloyd's underwriter, Rodney J Stone.

Classical Music: The word on the street: Bayan Northcott profiles the composer Louis Andriessen, artistic director of this year's Meltdown festival

MELTDOWN: Music, Opera, Dance, Performance, Film: Beyond the Cutting Edge. So proclaims the South Bank publicity for the second of its annual contemporary arts festivals - whether with the intention of reducing us all to radioactive gunge or driving us mad with mixed metaphors remains unclear. In any case, there will be precious little to melt the ear over the next few days, unless one counts the purgatorial permutations of Philip Glass. This is the year of militant minimalism and Bang on a Can; of amplified Icebreaker, Steve Martland's muscular midriff and 'film / art terrorists' Housewatch: the year of the hard men. And all of it at the behest, or at least in the image, of Louis Andriessen.

CLASSICAL MUSIC / All together now: Stern, Ma, Laredo and Ax - they're stars on their own, but how do they plkay as a team? Robert Cowan finds out

Virtuosos, like politicians, rarely blend. Egos tend to conflict, and there are matters of relative taste, sound projection and temperament to consider. There's also the question of having momentarily to remain subdued while a colleague takes centre-stage - and, if you've spent much of your professional life under the spotlight, that can be a very bitter pill to swallow.

Music: Honour bound: Anthony Payne on Verdi's Ernani, in concert performance at the Barbican

The 150th anniversary of Verdi's Ernani was celebrated by Opera in Concert at the Barbican Centre on Thursday with a rousing performance under the direction of Oliver von Dohanyi.

MUSIC: The nature of the beast: Jan Smaczny on three premieres in Birmingham

February has proved a kindly month for contemporary music in Birmingham. BBC's Pebble Mill winter series saw the premiere of Nigel Osborne's Sarajevo and the Birmingham Chamber Music Society fielded the first performance of Malcolm Williamson's Third String Quartet. Sandwiched in between, BEAST (Birmingham Electra Acoustic Sound Theatre) came to MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) to crown the last of their 'Rumours' series with a newly commissioned work by Adrian Hunter.

MUSIC / Free spirits: Choked by CDs, Meredith Oakes makes the case for the live experience

There were about 35 CDs in the Tallis Scholars brochure at their Tuesday concert in St John's, Smith Square. On Sunday morning at the Wigmore Hall, the Quatuor Mosaques paused in its weekend Haydn-Boccherini Festival to be presented with the 1993 Gramophone Award for Chamber Music, while people ran around carrying CDs stacked like pancakes. Twenty new live CDs of Indian music were advertised at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Monday night, when Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was recorded live in concert. How many CDs can the world absorb?
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