Wigmore Hall, London
Ludwig Van Beethoven
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Sunday 15 November 2009
The 22nd album by Sparks – never ones to do things the easy way – is a biopic in opera form of a legendary Swedish art-house director, with a cast of actor-singers augmenting Russell Mael’s vocals, and a complete orchestra backing Ron’s luxurious pianos. It’s a genre and format to which the brothers, whose work is so often described as “operatic”, are immaculately suited.
Sunday 18 October 2009
On Champions' Day here yesterday the fixture's title proved more about the human part of any equation than the equine. One master trainer, Henry Cecil, took the day's senior centrepiece, the Champion Stakes, with Twice Over and another, Aidan O'Brien, made the juvenile feature, the Dewhurst Stakes, his own by saddling the winner Beethoven, the second and the fourth. But any horse present was always going to be in the shadow cast in absence by the season's giant, Sea The Stars.
Sunday 27 September 2009
Scholarship and invention unite to extraordinary effect in this dazzling four-disc set.
Monday 24 August 2009
It is impossible to separate the West-East Divan Orchestra from what they represent, so the climax of their two-day presence at the Proms – a concert performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio – was always going to carry a loaded political message.
Saturday 22 August 2009
Sunday 05 July 2009
Half-fossil, half-innovator, organist and composer Alexandre Pierre François Boëly (1785-1858) was the self-appointed guardian of the classical style.
The Fairy Queen, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, East Sussex<br>Fidelio, Garsington Opera, Oxfordshire<br>Mirandolina, Garsington Opera, Oxfordshire
Sunday 28 June 2009
Friday 19 June 2009
Beethoven was famously energised by the principles of the French Revolution, before being disillusioned by Napoleon's betrayal of those principles.
Wednesday 10 June 2009
Wednesday 10 June 2009
The Haydn season kicked off with the obligatory splurge on Radio 3, and a massed charge led by Andras Schiff at the Wigmore Hall, but the really interesting thing was what the musicologist and fortepianist Robert Levin was doing at the Southbank. We quite often hear the fortepiano in these period-conscious days, but, sandwiched between performances on modern instruments, it always ends up sounding thin and a little bit impotent – so attuned are our ears to the luxurious richness of the Steinway.
Thursday 04 June 2009
When Leonora asks Rocco to allow the prisoners out of their cells and into the garden in the first act of Beethoven’s Fidelio, the beauty of the Garsington Manor setting comes into its own like a tantalising mirage.
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