London Symphony Orchestra
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Monday 24 November 2008
Richard Hickox, described as "one of the world's leading conductors", has died from a suspected heart attack aged 60.
Monday 10 November 2008
Mark Morris's new Romeo is both stripped-down and revisionist. He uses the first version of Prokofiev's score, recently rediscovered by Simon Morrison, complete with radically different ending. The settings are plain, the most macho male roles are played by women, and passion is almost entirely absent.
Monday 03 November 2008
There's a fantastic image on the front cover of Antony and the Johnson's new EP of the great Japanese butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno. His face is caked in thick white stage paint; his fingers snap out of shape, almost audibly, and his eyes fix themselves on some chimerical vision just out of shot. As a caught moment of butoh's dance of darkness, it's an arresting image; as a frontispiece to Another World, five songs of crippled beauty and uneasy, otherworldly landscapes, it's a masterstroke.
Monday 25 August 2008
The popular misconception of Tchaikovsky as a composer of splashy orchestra showpieces is hard to shake. Valery Gergiev seemed at pains to put this to rights and celebrate the fastidious craftsman in his complete performance of the composer's most "classical" ballet, The Sleeping Beauty. Such an event is a rarity in concert hall or theatre – at best we probably hear only about 80 per cent of the score.
Monday 25 August 2008
There was some surprise when it was learnt that Pierre Boulez, a conductor of immaculate precision, had taken to performing that sometimes rough diamond Leos Janacek. But with his recent readings of Janacek's last opera, From the House of the Dead, having drawn rave reviews, one approached this Prom of his music from 1926 (well into the Czech composer's prodigious old age) with real anticipation.
Thursday 26 June 2008
Thursday 26 June 2008
John Cruft: LSO oboist and secretary who became a much-loved director of music and drama at the Arts Council
Thursday 29 May 2008
In the late 1960s, when Jennie Lee was Minister for the Arts, William Glock was Director of Music at the BBC, and Pierre Boulez conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, John Cruft was the much-loved and respected Director of Music and Drama at the Arts Council (where Arnold Goodman was then Chairman). Ironically, at a time when "serious" music was as about as unpopular as "popular" music was then popular, new music nevertheless had its most formidable and capable champions within the establishment. When Cruft retired from the Arts Council in 1979, having been its Director of Music for 14 years, it was found that three people needed to be appointed to fulfil the workload he had somehow managed on his own.
Thursday 08 May 2008
It was plucky, not to say defiant, of Roberto Alagna to include the treacherous "Celeste Aida" in his Viva Verdi recital. This was, after all, the aria that precipitated his famous walk-out from La Scala, Milan, in December 2006, when elements in the audience showed their disapproval in the traditional manner. But if he sang it there as he did here, then I can't say I blame them.
London Sinfonietta/ Adès, Royal Festival Hall, London<br />LSO/Colin Davies, Barbican, London<br />Heiner Goebbels, University of Westminster, London
Sunday 04 May 2008
Sunday 23 March 2008
Saturday 15 March 2008
Jack Lyons: Financier and philanthropist convicted for his part in the Guinness share-trading scandal
Wednesday 20 February 2008
The death of Jack Lyons at the age of 92 ends more than 15 years of exile for a man once highly regarded for his philanthropy and the influence he wielded in high places. In 1987 Lyons was accused, along with Ernest Saunders, Gerald Ronson and Anthony Parnes, of illegally supporting the price of shares in Guinness during its bid for Distillers the previous year. All four were convicted of theft, conspiracy and false accounting, and Lyons was fined £3m and stripped of the knighthood he had been awarded in 1973 for charitable works and services to the arts.
Friday 25 January 2008
Sir John Eliot Gardiner did not quite begin at the beginning. His Beethoven cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra kicked off with the Second Symphony, and both here and in the devilishly innovative Eighth it was interesting to experience a conductor, who has spent the greater part of his career championing period instruments, revelling in the sheer power and depth of sonority that a contemporary orchestra such as the LSO routinely harnesses. The very first chord of the evening was little short of alarming.
Sunday 20 January 2008
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