Kings Place, London
Ludwig Van Beethoven
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Friday 16 December 2011
Music whose shock-value is an integral part of its power should not be heard too often, and when it’s plundered and parodied like Beethoven’s Ninth, this holds particularly true: three times a year is enough.
Thursday 15 December 2011
With Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture raising the curtain, so to speak, Renée Fleming arrived like Venus in a soufflé of black and bronze layered chiffon.
Monday 05 December 2011
On the London Symphony Orchestra’s website there’s a conversation between pianist Mitsuko Uchida and conductor Colin Davis in which they discuss the Beethoven and Nielsen works they are currently performing at the Barbican.
Wednesday 23 November 2011
Every year the international piano circus requires a new pin-up: last year’s was Yuja Wang, this year it’s Alice Sara Ott.
Tuesday 22 November 2011
The venerable and venerated Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra gave the first ever complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies and Riccardo Chailly, their 19Kapellmeister, was impatient to renew that sense of revelation and surprise in an age when each of the nine has grown so familiar that restoring the elusive shock-of-the-new factor can and does separate the sensation-seekers from the scholars.
Album: Kent Nagano, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Beethoven: In the Breath of Time (Sony Classical)
Friday 26 August 2011
The latest in Kent Nagano's pairs of Beethoven symphonies, In the Breath of Time posits the 6th and 8th Symphonies and the "Grosse Fuge" as illustrating Beethoven's attempt to confront the dangers of the constant march of progress while simultaneously operating at its cutting edge.
Friday 12 August 2011
Sometimes, music requires more than merely combined star power to make it work, as Watch the Throne, the eagerly-awaited alliance between Jay-Z and Kanye West, seems to confirm.
Friday 12 August 2011
Both a writer and a conductor, Sachs registers the huge shock achieved by a composer who in his final years had his "big-calibre artillery aimed at the future".
Tuesday 02 August 2011
Christophe Rousset regards his harpsichord as a time-machine, and his travels have yielded impressive fruit: he’s brought to light scores of works by French and Italian Baroque composers which had been overshadowed by Handel and Vivaldi.
Sunday 24 July 2011
Recorded live at last year's Lucerne Festival, Claudio Abbado's Fidelio is as compelling as it is beautiful.
Friday 17 June 2011
Fidelio is one of the more sombre entries in Beethoven's oeuvre.
Thursday 16 June 2011
Now approaching his seventieth birthday, Daniel Barenboim is not letting up.
Wednesday 01 June 2011
As the world’s top venue for chamber music, the Wigmore Hall had a lot to celebrate on its 110th anniversary. But when it opened in 1901, it had a different name and purpose.
Sunday 29 May 2011
It says something for Sir Colin Davis’ eternal vitality and musical curiosity that he should come to the dynamic Carl Nielsen symphonies so late in life.
Friday 13 May 2011
When Gidon Kremer's interpretation of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, recorded with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under Neville Marriner, was originally issued in the early 1980s, the cadenzas written for him by his friend Alfred Schnittke caused a sensation – and rightly so, more than justifying Schnittke's subsidiary sleeve credit. Even decades later, their flinty, abrasive manner causes a considerable shock towards the end of the first movement Allegro, a collision of styles and eras that takes in subsequent developments by Berg, Bartok and Shostakovich, as well as Beethoven himself.
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